Briggs v. Ford Motor Company

Filing 15

TRANSFER ORDER by MDL Panel transferring case to the Central District of California. (mclS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/8/2018)

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Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 1 of 7 2/6/18 I hereby attest and certify on _________ that the foregoing document is full, true and correct copy of the original on file in my office, and in my legal custody. RK K DISTRICT COURT RI RI O CLERK U.S. DISTRICT COURT NTRAL DISTRICT F C TR TR RIC IC C CALIFORN CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 2/6/18 UNITED STATES JUDICIAL PANEL on MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION UTY CLERK UTY CL DEPUTY CLERK IN RE: FORD MOTOR CO. DPS6 POWERSHIFT TRANSMISSION PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION MDL No. 2814 TRANSFER ORDER Before the Panel:* Defendant Ford Motor Company moves under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 to centralize this litigation in the Central District of California. This litigation currently consists of 110 actions pending in seven districts, as listed on Schedule A.1 Since the filing of the motion, the Panel has been notified of 57 related federal actions.2 Plaintiffs in 60 actions on the motion and 32 potential tag-along actions, represented by two law firms, oppose centralization. At oral argument, opposing plaintiffs in all but one of those actions stated that the Central District of California would be an acceptable choice to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs in the remaining 50 actions on the motion have not responded and thus are deemed to have acquiesced in the motion under Panel Rule 6.1(c). The plaintiffs opposing centralization do not dispute that all actions present factual questions concerning the allegedly defective DPS6 PowerShift transmission in certain Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus vehicles. Instead, they argue that centralization is not appropriate because the actions also involve individualized questions of fact regarding the problems experienced by each plaintiff’s vehicle, the nature and number of repairs, the efficacy of the repairs, and the extent to which the alleged defect impaired each plaintiff’s use of the vehicle. They further identify a handful of cases alleging additional problems unrelated to the transmission. But the central question in all actions is whether the DPS6 PowerShift transmission is defective and, as a result, caused operational problems relating to the transmission that affect the drivability, safety, and value of the vehicles. Product liability litigation typically involves some plaintiff-specific factual issues, but centralization still may be warranted where the actions allege a common defect involving similar products manufactured by the same company. See In re: MI Window and Doors, Inc., Prods. Liab. Litig., 857 * Certain Panel members who could be members of the putative classes in this litigation have renounced their participation in the classes and have participated in this decision. 1 The motion for centralization lists 111 actions. One action (Rerich) recently was terminated without prejudice pursuant to a joint stipulation of the parties. 2 These and any other related actions are potential tag-along actions. See Panel Rules 1.1(h), 7.1 and 7.2. Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 2 of 7 -2F. Supp. 2d 1374, 1375 (J.P.M.L. 2012). Transfer under Section 1407 does not require a complete identity of factual issues when the actions arise from a common factual core. See In re: Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Prods. Liab. Litig., 493 F. Supp. 2d 1371, 1372 (J.P.M.L. 2007). Plaintiffs further argue that centralization would be unjust on the ground that Ford improperly removed the vast majority of cases to avoid adverse state court rulings, and many plaintiffs have remand motions pending. It is well-established that jurisdictional objections, including objections to removal, are not relevant to transfer. This is so even where, as here, plaintiffs assert that the removals were patently improper. “Section 1407 does not empower the MDL Panel to decide questions going to the jurisdiction or the merits of a case, including issues relating to a motion to remand.” In re Ivy, 901 F.2d 7, 9 (2d Cir. 1990). Plaintiffs alternatively request a delay or stay of the decision on centralization until their motions for remand to state court are decided, but there is no persuasive basis to do so. The Panel’s longstanding practice is to decide motions to transfer even though remand motions are pending, as plaintiffs can present those motions to the transferee court. See, e.g., In re: Prudential Ins. Co. of Am. Sales Practices Litig., 170 F. Supp. 2d 1346, 1347-48 (J.P.M.L. 2001). Additionally, plaintiff in Hibdon argues that Ford intends to use the MDL to delay resolution of the cases and coerce plaintiffs into undesirable settlements. But plaintiff’s concerns about litigation delays and the future of settlement discussions are highly speculative. Moreover, these essentially are case management issues. As we have observed ,“[i]t is incumbent upon the parties to bring their concerns to the attention of the transferee court and to propose ways to resolve them.” See In re: Walgreen’s Herbal Supplements Mktg. and Sales Practices Litig., 109 F. Supp. 3d 1373, 1376 (J.P.M.L. 2015). On the basis of the papers filed and the hearing session held, we find that these actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. The actions share complex factual questions arising out of allegations that the DPS6 PowerShift Transmission installed in certain Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus vehicles3 is defective and negatively affects the drivability, safety, and useful life of the vehicles. The actions allege that plaintiffs’ vehicles suffer from similar transmission-related problems, including slipping, bucking, jerking, sudden acceleration, delayed acceleration and downshifting, and premature wear that requires repair or replacement. Common factual questions include (1) whether the design or manufacturing of the PowerShift transmission is defective; (2) defendant’s knowledge of, and conduct in response, to the alleged defect; and (3) whether vehicle owners and lessees have suffered a diminution in vehicle value or other economic damages. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary. 3 The allegations involve Ford Fiesta model years 2011 to 2016 and Ford Focus model years 2012 to 2016. Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 3 of 7 -3We conclude that the Central District of California is an appropriate transferee district for this litigation. The vast majority of the actions are pending in California, including 35 actions in the Central District. Centralization in this district also will facilitate coordination with California state court litigation involving the same alleged defect. Judge André Birotte, Jr., managed a related nationwide class action settlement involving the same Ford vehicles and alleged transmission defect,4 and thus is familiar with the factual and legal issues in this litigation. He presides over the actions pending in this district, and is an experienced transferee judge. We are confident he will steer this litigation on a prudent course. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the actions listed on Schedule A and pending outside the Central District of California are transferred to the Central District of California and, with the consent of that court, assigned to the Honorable André Birotte, Jr., for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. PANEL ON MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION Sarah S. Vance Chair Marjorie O. Rendell Lewis A. Kaplan R. David Proctor 4 Charles R. Breyer Ellen Segal Huvelle Catherine D. Perry See Vargas v. Ford Motor Co., C.A. No. 12-8388 (C.D. Cal). Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 4 of 7 IN RE: FORD MOTOR CO. DPS6 POWERSHIFT TRANSMISSION PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION MDL No. 2814 SCHEDULE A Central District of California HIBDON v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-06355 ALONSO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-06622 FORT v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-06631 BAGWELL v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-06632 BARRALES v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-06638 GIBSON v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-06644 HERMOSILLO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-06651 MAGANA, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-06653 MEJIA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-06654 PEDANTE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-06656 RULE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07204 PADILLA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07236 HOGGE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07256 GOMEZ v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-07262 CRESPO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07297 HIATT v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-07321 TRUJILLO, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-07322 ALTAMIRANO-TORRES v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07338 ALTIKRITI, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07369 DOBIAS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07370 CASTANEDA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07416 SULLIVAN v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07497 EMHARDT v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07533 MOBLEY v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 2:17-07554 WRIGHT, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-01982 PAPAMICHAEL v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-01986 RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02007 PADILLA, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02015 WEST v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02018 BERRY, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02034 HENRY, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02036 PEREZ, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02042 KEATING v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02044 HERNANDEZ, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02045 MCGINNIS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:17-02047 Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 5 of 7 - A2 Eastern District of California ZIMMERSCHIED, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 1:17-01317 SORENSON, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-01987 WILLIAMS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02006 MALAGON v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02051 VILLALOVOS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02053 BARRACK v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02078 LOVEST v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02079 CAMARGO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02092 MARQUEZ v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02140 GLASSFORD v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02145 DOLAN v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02148 REYES v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02151 NACUA, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02153 MARTIN, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 2:17-02158 Northern District of California BRIGGS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 3:17-05762 HYDE, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05613 SERVANTES, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05615 THOMAS, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05619 MENDEZ, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05620 MARLOWE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05621 THEADE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05643 SCHATZMAN v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05669 TORRES v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05694 ACEVES v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05695 FORRESTER v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05698 TORRES, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05699 RODRIGUEZ-DIAZ v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05701 RODGERS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05703 HERNANDEZ v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05704 SIMMONS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05705 INDIVERI v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05706 GARCIA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05711 CONNAUGHTON, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05712 KLEIN v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05722 MAGAN, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05730 KANE, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05745 MARTINEZ v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05746 PADILLA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05747 Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 6 of 7 - A3 PAYSENO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05749 RAVEN v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05750 RIVERA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05751 BECKER, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05765 GONZALEZ v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05885 REINPRECHT v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05900 TAVITIAN v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05915 ARCHIBALD, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05922 DILLARD, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05924 ESTRADA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05925 AGUILAR v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05927 ALLIANO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05978 HESS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-05996 ROMERO, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:17-06022 Southern District of California MILES, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-01993 ROJAS, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02005 RALEIGH v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02035 CARDOSO v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02037 ROSE, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02038 MINKE, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02039 KENNEDY v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02040 STANTON v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02043 MODROW v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02044 ROCHE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02045 REECE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02046 MENDOZA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02047 SALGADO, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02048 OMARK v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02049 MUHAMMAD v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02050 SMITHFIELD, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02109 PORTER, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02111 FUKASAWA, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02116 BILLIARD v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02121 ESQUIBEL v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 3:17-02157 District of Hawaii HEMZA v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 1:17-00296 Case MDL No. 2814 Document 40 Filed 02/02/18 Page 7 of 7 - A4 Southern District of Ohio MARTIN, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 1:16-00855 Eastern District of Texas ASCENSIO, ET AL. v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, C.A. No. 4:17-00074

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