National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority
OPINION AND ORDER: GRANTS MOTION to Consolidate Cases by Defendant Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority and ORDERS consolidation of cause numbers 2:15-CV-281-JD-PRC and 2:17-CV-35-PPS-JEM. All future filings shall be made in 2:15-CV-281-JD-PRC only. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paul R Cherry on 2/27/2017. (lhc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
OLD REPUBLIC INSURANCE COMPANY,
) CAUSE NO.: 2:15-CV-281-JD-PRC
GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, )
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on an Unopposed Motion to Consolidate [DE 55], filed on
January 31, 2017. Defendant Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority (the “Airport”) requests
that this matter be consolidated with National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v.
Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, Cause Number 2:17-CV-35-PPS-JEM. On January
31, 2017, the Airport filed a Notice of Motion to Consolidate and a Notice of Related Action in
Cause Number 2:17-CV-35-PPS-JEM.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) provides that, “[i]f actions before the court involve
a common question of law or fact, the court may . . . consolidate the actions.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
42(a)(2). Consolidation is appropriate for “cases that share the same questions of law or fact and
where consolidation would not result in prejudice to any party.” Back v. Bayh, 933 F. Supp. 738, 748
(N.D. Ind. 1996) (citing Fleishman v. Prudential-Bache Sec., 103 F.R.D. 623, 624 (E.D. Wis.
1984)). Courts “consider such factors as judicial economy, avoiding delay, and avoiding inconsistent
or conflicting results” as well as “as the possibility of juror confusion or administrative difficulties.”
Habitat Educ. Ctr., Inc. v. Kimbell, 250 F.R.D. 390, 394 (E.D. Wis. 2008). Consolidation “is a
matter committed to the sound discretion of the trial judge.” Canedy v. Boardman, 16 F.3d 183, 185
(7th Cir. 1994).
The instant lawsuit was filed on July 24, 2015, by Plaintiff Old Republic Insurance Company
for declaratory judgment and reimbursement of defense costs after the Indiana Department of
Environmental Management (IDEM) initiated an action against the Airport concerning certain
environmental conditions existing at the Airport (“IDEM Matter”). The related suit brought by
National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA (“National Union”) was initially brought
against the Airport in the Northern District of Illinois, similarly seeking declaratory judgment related
to National Union’s coverage obligations for the IDEM Matter. The National Union case was
recently transferred from the Northern District of Illinois to the Northern District of Indiana on the
Airport’s motion for purposes of seeking consolidation with this case.
Discovery has not yet begun in the instant lawsuit in anticipation of the addition of other
insurance companies as parties to the lawsuit. Counsel for Old Republic Insurance Company does
not oppose consolidation. The Airport filed a Third Party Complaint against Great American
Insurance Company, and Great American Insurance Company filed an Answer as well as its own
Third Party Complaint against National Union. Having reviewed the Complaints in this case and in
Cause Number 2:17-CV035-PPS-JEM, the Court finds that the two cases have common issues of
fact and common issues of law. Consolidation will reduce the burden placed on witnesses, parties,
and judicial resources.
Accordingly, in the interest of judicial economy, the Court hereby GRANTS the Unopposed
Motion to Consolidate [DE 55] and ORDERS consolidation of cause numbers 2:15-CV-281-JDPRC and 2:17-CV-35-PPS-JEM.
All future filings shall be made in 2:15-CV-281-JD-PRC only.
SO ORDERED this 27th day of February, 2017.
s/ Paul R. Cherry
MAGISTRATE JUDGE PAUL R. CHERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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