The new year has brought imPaneled a respite from those pesky billable matters and an opportunity to update old news. Let’s start with the subject of previous posts, MDL 2406, In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation. When we last posted, the Boies Schiller/Hausfeld syndicate had recently filed a case in the M.D. La., where Ball & Scott (one of the “Davids” in this “David and Goliath” saga*) had previously filed a case.
imPaneled had previously reported that counsel associated with Ball & Scott had filed in the M.D. La., but asked the Panel to centralize proceedings in the E.D. La. imPaneled had not previously reported that Ball & Scott has had (and may continue to have) a wide-ranging and apparently prosperous relationship with Cohen Milstein, the other “Goliath” in this story. Within days after the BSF/Hausfeld filing, the E.D. La. movants suddenly realized the error of their previous submission, and determined that the N.D. Ala.–where Cohen Milstein stands a better chance of landing a lead counsel position–is the superior forum.
Meanwhile, a flurry of related actions from other districts were brought into the mix. That may ultimately recast the “David v. Goliath” nature of the lead counsel fight, but for now has resulted only in the development of something of a sideshow. LifeWatch, the plaintiff in a case pending against the Blues in the E.D. Pa., objected to the Blues designating its case as a “related action,” which precipitated additional pre-hearing submissions by the Blues.
The Panel somewhat predictably centralized all of the relatively early-filed cases in the N.D. Ala., where there has been no further docket activity directed to the lead counsel issue. The Panel subsequently issued a conditional transfer order sending the LifeWatch case there as well, which LifeWatch has opposed. There is surely more to come on all fronts. imPaneled will be all over it when it does.
* – Counsel who are in a position to know confirmed imPaneled’s sense that the Panel proceeding was initiated by “David” small plaintiffs’ firms seeking to take a piece of the action from the “Goliath” big firms (as if there were ever any doubt as to imPaneled’s instincts in this context).