The seven federal judges on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation have issued the first two transfer orders from their September 30 session in Nashville.
The Panel sent cases relating to the recall of McNeil Consumer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson medicines (think Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl) for children and infants to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In re McNeil Consumer Healthcare, et al., Marketing and Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 2190 (J.P.M.L. Oct. 8, 2010).
It centralized lawsuits concerning performance of Apple's iPhone4 — its propensity to drop calls — to the Northern District of California. In re Apple iPhone4 Products Liability Litig., MDL No. 2188 (J.P.M.L. Oct. 8, 2010).
The Panel heard argument on 10 new motions to centralize cases from multiple districts. Transfer orders put similar lawsuits before a single judge for pretrial purposes. The transferee judge must return cases to the districts whence they came after pretrial proceedings end — assuming of course they survive the pretrial phase.
The JPML next sits in Durham, North Carolina (Nov. 18, 2010) and then in New Orleans (Jan. 27, 2011) and San Diego (Mar. 31, 2011). It holds six, bi-monthly sessions each year.