Judicial Panel Agrees with Defense that Pretrial Coordination of Individual Lawsuits with Class Action not Warranted
Three lawsuits – two by individuals filed in California and one putative class action filed in New Jersey – were brought against Pfizer advancing products liability claims. In re Depo-Provera Products Liab. Litig., 499 F.Supp.2d 1348, 1348-49 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 2007). Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the two California actions filed a motion with the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) requesting centralization with the class action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the District of New Jersey. Defense attorneys objected to pretrial coordination, id. The Judicial Panel denied the motion, agreeing with defense attorneys that the class action in New Jersey – which seeks inter alia medical monitoring – should proceed on its own, separate from the individual actions – which seek damages for personal injuries. Id., at 1349. The Judicial Panel explained at page 1349, “The proponents of centralization have failed to convince us that any common questions of fact among these three actions are sufficiently complex and/or numerous to justify Section 1407 transfer at this time.” Id. Accordingly, the motion was denied.
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