Thursday, January 26, 2012

Judge Cohn Refuses to Stay Discovery Pending MDL Transfer.

 In light of the fact that the MDL Panel is meeting in Miami today, it seems timely to note this interesting opinion from Judge Cohn refusing to stay written discovery in a case that has been designated by the defendant for possible MDL transfer.

Here is Judge Cohn's reasoning:
Plaintiffs contend that whether or not this case is transferred to an MDL court, discovery will commence either way. Under the particular facts surrounding this action, this Court agrees that there is no reason to delay discovery. Defendant has been litigating similar cases for several years. In reviewing Grace and Morgan, it appears that the particular facts regarding duties and supervision of store managers may differ from state to state, meaning that discovery of the duties of Florida managers is likely relevant regardless of transfer. Given these appellate decisions, it is not clear that this action will be transferred. In addition, a hearing on the pending transfer motion may not occur for 60 days, given the Panel’s schedule. These facts make this case different from many other actions that this Court has completely stayed pending MDL transfer.

Therefore, the Court concludes that while it will grant a continuance of the scheduling conference and a limited stay of this action, this stay does not include written discovery requests. The Court is not compelling production of any documents – the Court is merely exercising its discretion not to stay written discovery. The Court reaches this decision even though a scheduling conference has not taken place.
 Welcome back to Miami, visiting judges!


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