Judicial Panel Grants Defense Motion, Unopposed by Any Class Action Plaintiff, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 and Centralizes Class Actions in Southern District of New York
Four class action lawsuits – two in New York, one in Tennessee and one in Texas – were filed against defendants PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Group alleging that defendants “misled consumers of its Aquafina bottled water into believing that the water source of Aquafina was something different from and better than tap water.” In re PepsiCo, Inc., Bottled Water Marketing & Sales Practices Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. April 7, 2008) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Defense attorneys filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Southern District of New York; no plaintiff in any of the class actions opposed the motion. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits, explaining at page 1: “Centralization under Section 1407 will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.” The Judicial Panel also agreed that the Southern District of New York was the appropriate transferee court “because two of the four actions are already pending there and, by centralizing them before Judge Charles L. Brieant, we are assigning the litigation to a jurist who has the experience to steer it on a prudent course.” Id.