Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiffs, but Transfers Class Actions to District not Mentioned by Any of the Parties, the District of Massachusetts
Two class actions – one in Missouri and one in New York – were filed against various defendants, including Forest Laboratories and Forest Pharmaceuticals alleging that defendants “engaged in false and misleading promotion of Celexa and Lexapro for pediatric or adolescent use and sought to induce physicians and others to prescribe Celexa or Lexapro by providing them with various forms of illegal remuneration.” In re Celexa & Lexapro Marketing & Sales Prac. Litig., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. August 19, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1-2]. 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 Eastern District of New York; plaintiffs in the New York class action supported the motion, and plaintiffs in the Missouri class action ultimately did not object to transfer to the Eastern District of New York. Id., at 1. Plaintiffs in a potential tag-along class action pending in the Southern District of New York requested transfer to that district, id. The Judicial Panel granted the motion to centralize the class action lawsuits but selected the District of Massachusetts as the appropriate transferee court. Id. The Panel explained at page 2, “The two qui tam actions that apparently spawned the actions now before the Panel are pending in the District of Massachusetts. Also, centralization in this district permits the Panel to assign the litigation to an experienced judge who is not presently overseeing another multidistrict litigation docket and who has a caseload relatively favorable for this assignment.”
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