Judicial Panel Grants Request, Unopposed by Defense and Other Responding Plaintiffs, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Transfers Class Actions to Northern District of Georgia
Twenty (20) products liability class action lawsuits were filed in 13 different federal district courts against various defendants arising from the consumption of contaminated peanut butter. In re ConAgra Peanut Butter Products Liab. Litig., 495 F.Supp.2d 1381, 1381-82 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in three of the class actions filed motions with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of Georgia, the District of South Carolina and the Western District of Washington, respectively. Id., at 1382. Defense attorneys and responding plaintiffs in other class actions agreed that pretrial coordination was appropriate, but argued for transfer to district courts in Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions and selected the Northern District of Georgia because three class actions (and two tag-along actions) are pending there, because common defendant ConAgra supported transfer there if the case was not sent to Missouri, and because “the manufacturing plant where the contamination occurred and the governmental agency that investigated the contamination are located there.” Id.