Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiff Request, Over Defense Objection, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Agrees With Defense Request to Transfer Class Actions to Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Two class action lawsuits (followed by 28 potential tag-along class actions) were filed against various defendants, including SmithKlineBeecham Corp., arising out of the manufacture and sale of certain diabetes drugs that allegedly caused increased risk of heart attack and other injuries. In re Avandia Marketing, Sales Prac. & Prods. Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 3119378, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. October 16, 2007). Louisiana plaintiffs 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 District of Puerto Rico or in Louisiana. Id. Puerto Rico plaintiffs supported the motion, and plaintiffs in the tag-along actions supported pretrial coordination but could not agree on the appropriate transferee court, id. Defense attorneys for SmithKlineBeecham initially opposed pretrial coordination but subsequently supported centralization in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed with the defense that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania “will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation,” particularly since SmithKlineBeecham’s principal place of business is located there. Id.