Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Selects Southern District of Texas as Appropriate Transferee Court for Class Actions
Several class action lawsuits were filed against MERSCORP and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. challenging mortgage loan registration fees and alleging that the fees violate the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In re MERSCORP Inc., et al., Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Litig., 473 F.Supp.2d 1379, 1379 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Lawyers for all plaintiffs in the separate class action lawsuits 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 Eastern District of Texas. Id. Defense attorneys agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, and agreed further that the Eastern District of Texas was the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions, but noted that the Eastern District of Texas “declined the assignment due to its heavy caseload.” Id., at 1379-80. Accordingly, the Panel transferred the cases to the Southern District of Texas for pretrial proceedings. Id., at 1380.