Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiff Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by any Responding Parties, and Transfers Actions to Western District of North Carolina
Three class actions – one in California, Illinois and North Carolina – were filed against LendingTree and other defendants alleging that LendingTree failed to “limit access to and/or adequately safeguard private customer information in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” In re Lending Tree, LLC, Customer Data Security Breach Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. October 7, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Plaintiff’s lawyer for the North Carolina class action filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Western District of North Carolina; no responding party opposed centralization, but the parties could not agree on the appropriate transferee court. Id. Certain other plaintiffs, and defendants LendingTree and Home Loan Center supported the motion; plaintiffs in the Illinois and California class actions argued for transfer to the Central District of California. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, id., at 1-2. The Panel also agreed that the Western District of North Carolina was the appropriate transferee court “because (1) LendingTree is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and parties, witnesses and documents may be found there, and (2) this district has the capacity to handle this docket and, in the past, has been underutilized as a transferee district.” Id., at 2.