Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiffs, and Transfers Class Actions to District of New Jersey
Six class actions – two in Massachusetts, and one each in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – were filed against Staples alleging labor law violations; specifically, the class action complaints allege “that Staples assistant, operations and/or sales managers are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act and/or various state wage and hour statutes.” In re Staples, Inc., Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. April 14, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1]. 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 New Jersey or, alternatively, in the District of Massachusetts; none of the class action plaintiffs opposed centralization, though plaintiffs in four of the class actions supported transfer to New Jersey while plaintiffs in the remaining class actions supported transfer to Connecticut. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed that the District of New Jersey was the appropriate transferee court “because (1) this choice is supported by all parties at least in the alternative, and (2) this district is already presiding over a similar action against Staples which is in its final stages.” Id. Accordingly, the Panel ordered all class actions outside of New Jersey transferred as requested by Staples, id., at 1-2.