Docket No. 1334, C.A. No. 3:02-76
August 12, 2002
Presently before the Panel is a motion, pursuant to Rule 7.4, R.P.J.P.M.L., 199 F.R.D. 425, 435-36 (2001), by the Zhou plaintiff to vacate the Panel's order conditionally transferring his action to the Southern District of Florida for inclusion in the centralized pretrial proceedings occurring there in this docket. Defendant Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. opposes the motion and favors inclusion of Zhou in MDL-1334 pretrial proceedings.
On the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, the Panel finds that Zhou involves common questions of fact with the actions in this litigation previously centralized in the Southern District of Florida. Transfer of this action to the Southern District of Florida for inclusion in the coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings occurring in that district will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. The Panel further finds that transfer of Zhou is appropriate for reasons expressed by the Panel in its previous orders directing centralization in this docket. The Panel held that the Southern District of Florida was the proper Section 1407 forum for actions concerning the managed care defendants' alleged liability for their cost-containment policies. See In re Managed Care Litigation, MDL-1334, 2000 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 15927 (J.P.M.L. Oct. 23, 2000); In re Humana, Inc., Managed Care Litigation, MDL-1334, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5099 (J.P.M.L. Apr. 13, 2000).
The Zhou plaintiffs objections to Section 1407 transfer are based primarily on the ground that transfer would be inconvenient or prejudicial to him. We disagree. We point out that transfer under Section 1407 has the salutary effect of placing all actions in this docket before a single judge who can formulate a pretrial program that allows discovery with respect to any non-common issues to proceed concurrently with discovery on common issues. See In re Joseph F. Smith Patent Litigation, 407 F. Supp. 1403, 1404 (J.P.M.L. 1976). We observe that since Section 1407 transfer is for pretrial proceedings only, there is usually no need for the parties and witnesses to travel to the transferee district for depositions or otherwise. See, e.g., Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(c). Moreover, we are confident in Judge Moreno's ability to assimilate Zhou into MDL-1334 proceedings and to supervise this docket in a manner that ensures that pretrial proceedings will lead to the just and expeditious resolution of all claims in all actions to the overall benefit of the parties.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Jin Zhou v. Connecticut GeneralLife Insurance Co., D. Connecticut, CA. No. 3:02-76, is transferred to the Southern District of Florida and, with the consent of that court, assigned to the Honorable Federico A. Moreno for inclusion in the coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings occurring there.