The terrorists have won

“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.
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The answer is “yes” . . .

. . . to the question imPaneled posed to its readers yesterday, i.e., “is imPaneled a blog of its word?”  The “word” was that there would be a post today.  Now there’s a post today.

As imPaneled is staffed entirely by attorneys, it crossed our minds that we might add nothing more and still celebrate having posted.  But implicit in yesterday’s promise was something of a representation that today’s post would actually include substance.  And the complex litigation community bounced back from a lackluster week to give us real substance yesterday.  To wit:

  • Boies Schiller and Cohen Milstein are contesting leadership in the Blue Cross antitrust action in the N.D. Ala.  Boies Schiller shrewdly added two local firms to its proposal, and further offered a generous helping of lodestar from their friends at Hausfeld.
  • Four firms–Abraham Fruchter, Bernstein Liebhard, Robbins Geller and the Rosen Law Firm–gave notice of their intention to seek lead status in the Lone Pine Resources case pending in the S.D.N.Y.
  • Fannie Mae previewed what is likely to be a bruising battle over whether the Panel should transfer and consolidate the many cases comprising MDL 2388, the Mortgage Lender Force-Placed Insurance Litigation.

More to come tomorrow, and to all the complex litigators out there–keep up both the production and the conflict.

We’re back . . .

. . . and hopefully new and improved.  imPaneled has spent much of its hiatus mastering the search algorithms and other data manipulation necessary to compile and process the huge amounts of information that will hopefully make imPaneled your regular destination for Panel and lead counsel news.  The idea is that posts will be coming every day (or something close to that) going forward.  We’ll see.

Anyway, last week’s filings predictably brought little in the way of substance, as complex litigators joined the real world in vacating their offices.  The Panel was flooded with notices identifying who is most likely to join us in NYC on September 20, where the main attractions will be the Mortgage Lender Force-Placed Insurance Litigation (MDL 2388), the Facebook IPO Securities Litigation (MDL 2389), the Uponor Plumbing Fittings  Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2393), and the Real Estate Transfer Tax Litigation (MDL 2394).

Plaintiffs in the Nexium Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2404) moved to be included in the fun in NYC–purely in the interests of justice, of course–despite having filed the initial motion in that proceeding just last week.  The Panel took all of one business day to deny that request earlier today.

Most of the lead counsel activity in the district courts last week was uncontested (i.e., boring).  The sole apparent exception is the General Maritime securities litigation in the S.D.N.Y., where Rigrodsky & Long is apparently duking it out with Wolf Haldenstein for all the spoils.  There were also submissions in the massive Peregrine proceeding in the N.D. Ill.  But imPaneled will need a few days and perhaps another laptop to make sense of that one.

imPaneled has promised some of its biggest fans there will be another post tomorrow.  Tune in to see if imPaneled is a blog of its word.

  • About the blogmaster

    Bart Cohen is the principal of the Law Office of Bart D. Cohen, where he represents his clients in class actions and other complex litigation, and Winning Briefs, where he polishes, edits and drafts written work product for overextended lawyers.

    His unnatural appetites for rules and research of all kinds have made him an expert on proceedings before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. He feeds those appetites and chronicles the battles to land lead counsel appointments that are fought in part before the Panel on imPaneled.

    You can contact Bart here or connect with him here.

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