Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in Northern District of Illinois, Rejecting Motion of California Class Action Plaintiff to Centralize Litigation in the Central District of California
Fourteen (14) class action lawsuits (9 in Illinois, and 1 in Arkansas, California, Indiana, New Jersey and New York) were filed against various defendants, including RC2 Corp. and Learning Curve Brands, “stem[ming] from certain toys that were manufactured and/or distributed by defendants and recalled due to the presence of elevated levels of lead in surface paints. In re RC2 Corp. Toy Lead Paint Products Liab. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. December 19, 2007) [Slip Opn., at 1]. Defense attorneys for RC2 and Learning Curve filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization of the class action litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the Northern District of Illinois; California plaintiff’s lawyer for one of the class actions filed a competing motion for centralization in the Central District of California; no other party responded to the motion. Id. All responding parties supported pretrial coordination and concurred with defense attorneys that the Northern District of Illinois was the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits and agreed with the defense that the Northern District of Illinois was the appropriate forum as “[t]he majority of the actions are pending there, defendant RC2 is headquartered there, and, therefore, discovery will likely be found there. Id. Accordingly, the Panel transferred the class action lawsuits to Illinois, id., at 1-2.