As we posted about earlier, 21 cases have been filed against Cox et. al. as of this date. With there being so many plaintiffs, it can be difficult to decide which court will hear the case, let alone in what state the case will be tried in. This is the situation currently being handled in the class action lawsuit the Berniard Law Firm, along with co-counsel, has filed with Cox.
With 21 plaintiffs, a wide variety of jurisdictions are covered and opens up the issue of multidistrict litigation. Multidistrict litigation, or MDL, involves a party to a lawsuit appealing to a panel to decide which jurisdiction will be used for each stage of the suit, from pre-trial proceedings and then the return to an original court of acceptable jurisdiction. The panel involved with a MDL issue decides the transfer of the case to a specific court but does not supervise any of the litigation thereafter. Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against Cox live in Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida and California.
Because the plaintiffs live in different states and Cox is subject to multiple jurisdictions, there is currently a dispute about which court the case will be held in. The defendant Cox filed with the Judicial District Panel of Multidistrict Litigation (MDL Panel) a pleading so as to have all of these cases coordinated in one court. Cox would like the panel to refer the case to the Middle District of Georgia while Berniard and co-counsel want it to be heard in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Further, some attorneys want the case to be held in Oklahoma.
A hearing on May 27 featured attorney Allan Kanner, co-counsel of the Berniard Law Firm, arguing for the case to be held in the Eastern District of Louisiana. A typical MDL Panel ruling takes approximately six weeks. An update will be posted when this ruling comes down.