Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request, Over Objection, for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 but Agrees With Plaintiff’s Request to Transfer Class Actions to District of New Jersey
Three class action lawsuits were filed against Boscov’s Department Store alleging violation of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). In re Boscov’s Dep’t Store, LLC, Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2007 WL 3119372, *1 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. October 17, 2007). Defense attorneys 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 Maryland. Maryland plaintiffs supported the motion; Pennsylvania plaintiffs agreed pretrial coordination was appropriate but argued that the Western District of Pennsylvania was the appropriate transferee court; and New Jersey plaintiffs opposed centralization but alternatively argued that the District of New Jersey was the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class actions but rejected defendant’s request for transfer to Maryland and Pennsylvania plaintiff’s request for transfer there even though Boscov was headquartered in Pennsylvania, id. Rather, the Panel stated that all three forums would be appropriate, and selected New Jersey Illinois because it has “the capacity to handle this litigation and a transferee judge with time and experience to steer this litigation on a prudent course.” Id.
NOTE: This case highlights the risk a defendant runs in assuming that they will be successful in choosing a forum by way of MDL centralization.