Federal judicial panel rules NFL concussion litigation can be centralized in Phila. federal court
A federal judicial panel has OK’d a motion by the National Football League to consolidate four injury lawsuits against it at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In an order released Tuesday, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation stated that the four lawsuits – one filed at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia and the others filed in the Central District of California – can be centralized in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In its order, the panel stated that it has been made aware of 16 other potential lawsuits that may be filed at some point in the future.
The litigation concerns allegations of concussion related injuries stemming from players’ time on the field.
In coming to its conclusion, the panel ruled that the four actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will “serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.”
Centralization, the order states, will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings and will conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.
“We conclude that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is an appropriate transferee district for pretrial proceedings in this litigation,” the order states. “Six actions are now pending in that district before Judge Anita B. Brody, who has the experience to guide this litigation on a prudent course. Furthermore, the majority of the parties support centralization in that district.”
The order is signed by the panel’s chairman, John G. Heyburn II.
The four cases referenced in the order is Charles Ray Easterling et al v. National Football League, which is pending in federal court in Philadelphia, as well as three cases that were filed in the Central District of California: Vernon Maxwell et al v. National Football League, Dave Pear et al v. National Football League and Larry Barnes et al v. National Football League.