“That’s a mite alarmist,” I hear you say. Well, the terrorists are responsible for the S.D.N.Y. rule precluding the use of laptops in the courthouse. As a result, imPaneled’s notes from yesterday’s Panel hearing are on dead trees–at another location. As a result, imPaneled is now forced to report on that Panel hearing without having notes to ensure the maintenance of its high standards of journalistic integrity. Ergo, the terrorists have won.
Fortunately, yesterday’s Panel hearing, like most, included moments that are seared in imPaneled’s memory:
- The oral argument in MDL 2388 (In re Mortgage Lender Force-Placed Insurance Litigation) was a spirited discussion of issues similar to those raised in MDL 2394 (In re Real Estate Transfer Tax Litigation), i.e., is centralization appropriate for cases sharing common fact patterns, but not necessarily common facts? A strict reading of imPaneled’s favorite statute would compel the Panel to say “no.” But see MDL 1334 (In re Managed Care Litigation). Movants in MDL 2388 did in fact ask the Panel to see In re Managed Care Litigation. imPaneled leaves to the litigants whether that MDL served the purposes of the statute, and anxiously awaits the resolution of MDL 2388.
- Counsel for the defendants in MDL 2391 (In re Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation) opposed centralization on the premise that centralization encourages plaintiffs to file additional cases–all of which lack for merit. The Panel rather cleverly responded with two questions: Does centralization transform frivolous cases into meritorious cases? And is a transferee court any less capable of dismissing frivolous cases that a transferor court? Even before counsel was forced to answer those questions in the negative, it struck imPaneled that Biomet is not offended that centralization makes cases more meritorious nearly so much as it is offended that centralization makes cases more affordable for plaintiffs. imPaneled congratulates the Panel for making that point without embarrassing Biomet’s counsel any more than it did, and anticipates that the right decision will be forthcoming.
- Mark Lanier was responsible for the high comic point of the day, when he pressed for the transfer of MDL 2391 to Houston based in part on its boasting “the best minor league baseball team” in the nation. Okay, so that was funny only to imPaneled and the other baseball fans in attendance. You want great comedy at Panel hearings, get this guy appointed to the Panel.