United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Procedure — class actions — joinder
A motion to consolidate and transfer related state court cases to one circuit court through trial constitutes a proposal to try the cases jointly, thus triggering the “mass action” provision of the Class Action Fairness Act.
“Plaintiffs may not have explicitly asked that their claims be tried jointly, but the language in their motion comes very close. As noted above, plaintiffs requested consolidation of their cases ‘through trial’ and ‘not solely for pretrial proceedings.’ They further asserted that consolidation through trial ‘would also facilitate the efficient disposition of a number of universal and fundamental substantive questions applicable to all or most Plaintiffs’ cases without the risk of inconsistent adjudication in those issues between various courts’ (emphasis added). We agree with Abbott that it is difficult to see how a trial court could consolidate the cases as requested by plaintiffs and not hold a joint trial or an exemplar trial with the legal issues applied to the remaining cases. In either situation, plaintiffs’ claims would be tried jointly. Although plaintiffs assert that the transferee court will decide how their cases proceed to trial, ‘[i]t does not matter whether a trial covering 100 or more plaintiffs actually ensues; the statutory question is whether one has been proposed.’ Bullard, 535 F.3d at 762.”
12-8020, 12-8021, 12-8022, 12-8023, 12-8024, 12-8025, 12-8026 & 12-8027 In re Abbott Laboratories, Inc.
Petitions for Permission to Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Murphy, J., Tinder, J.