I’m shocked, SHOCKED . . .

. . . to see class action plaintiffs’ counsel accused of engaging in procedural gamesmanship to seize control of litigation against a defendant with deep pockets.  Alas, if Gibson Dunn has told the Panel the entire sordid saga of litigation against its client Frito-Lay, that is exactly what has happened.

By way of background, the Panel’s dockets have recently reflected what at first glance appeared to be a veritable crime spree by Frito-Lay.  On consecutive business days, plaintiffs initiated 1407 proceedings in MDL 2413, now captioned In re Frito-Lay Bean Dip Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, and MDL 2414, In re Frito-Lay Tostitos & Sun Chips Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation.

Frito-Lay recently shed some light on the mystery, detailing how litigation as to all of its delicious and nutritious snack items has been proceeding apace in the E.D.N.Y., and seeking to centralize both MDLs there.  But, says its counsel, a bevy of plaintiffs’ firms, led by San Francisco’s Law Offices of Howard W. Rubinstein, P.A., have “file[d] multiple duplicative lawsuits [in other districts] in order to obtain a stake in earlier-filed litigation.”  The details, which are consolidated on the penultimate page of Frito-Lay’s submission, are not pretty.  Says Gibson Dunn: “All of this has to stop. The judicial system is not designed to work this way.”

Those are fightin’ words, at least by Panel standards.  Fortunately, plaintiffs in both MDLs have an opportunity to defend their honor in reply briefs.  imPaneled looks forward to that, as well as a lively discussion in Dallas next month.

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  • 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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