ROCK v. NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
ORDER DENYING (90) Motion to Consolidate Cases in case 1:12-cv-01019-JMS-DKL: The parties have presented no convincing reason for reassigning Mr. Chamurro's action to the undersigned district judge. Accordingly, the Court determines that reass ignment is not appropriate. For the reasons explained herein, the Court DENIES Mr. Rock's Motion to Consolidate Cases. [Filing No. 90.] The Court directs the Clerk to also docket a copy of this order in Cause No. 1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML ***SEE ORDER FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION***. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 9/23/2014. (DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
JOHN ROCK, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated,
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION,
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE
Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiff John Rock’s Motion to Consolidate Cases.
[Filing No. 90.] For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Mr. Rock’s motion.
Mr. Rock filed this antitrust putative class action against Defendant National Collegiate
Athletic Association (the “NCAA”) on August 25, 2012. [Filing No. 1.] Through his operative
complaint, Mr. Rock challenges the NCAA’s rules that prohibited multi-year athletic scholarships
for Division I football players and the rules that impose a cap on the number of football scholarships that a Division I football team may award. [Filing No. 46 at 3.]
On August 16, 2013, the Court issued an order denying a Motion to Dismiss filed by the
NCAA. [Filing No. 58.] The parties have been engaged in discovery since that time. Mr. Rock’s
deadline to move for class certification is November 24, 2014, and the parties have already been
advised that no further extensions will be granted. [Filing No. 86 at 2; Filing No. 88.]
On August 28, 2014, Durrell Chamorro filed an antitrust putative class action against the
NCAA in this District, which was assigned to Chief Judge Richard L. Young as Cause Number
1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML. Mr. Chamorro and Mr. Rock are represented by the same counsel. In
his Complaint, Mr. Chamorro also challenges the NCAA’s rules that prohibited multi-year athletic
scholarships for Division I football players and the rules that impose a cap on the number of football scholarships that a Division I football team may award. [Cause Number 1:14-cv-1421-RLYDML, Filing No. 1 at 3.]
The same day that Mr. Chamorro filed his action against the NCAA, Mr. Rock filed a
Motion to Consolidate Mr. Chamorro’s case with his. [Filing No. 90.] In his Motion to Consolidate, Mr. Rock argues that Chamorro contains “similar factual allegations and legal theories, [and]
the putative class definitions are similar, although not identical.” [Filing No. 90 at 2.] Mr. Rock
proposes that “[g]iven the significant overlap of factual and legal issues between this action and
the allegations brought by Plaintiff Chamorro, consolidation of the actions will provide the parties
and this Court with significant savings in time, effort, and expense.” 1 [Filing No. 90.]
In response, the NCAA agrees that Rock and Chamorro are based on similar allegations
and legal theories. [Filing No. 92 at 2.] The NCAA represents that it has conferred with opposing
counsel regarding how consolidating the cases would affect the Rock pretrial schedule and that
counsel for Mr. Rock and Mr. Chamorro “do not intend to request any changes to the Rock pretrial
schedule if their motion to consolidate is granted.” [Filing No. 92 at 3.] That said, because the
NCAA “believes that the Chamorro complaint suffers from certain legal defects not present in the
Rock complaint,” the NCAA intends to file a motion to dismiss Mr. Chamorro’s case. [Filing No.
92 at 3.] For that reason, the NCAA “believes it would be premature” to consolidate Chamorro
and Rock before the anticipated motion to dismiss in Chamorro is resolved. [Filing No. 92 at 3-
Local Rule 42-1 provides that a party seeking to consolidate two or more civil cases must file the
motion in the case with the earliest docket number and file a notice of the motion in the other case.
A notice of Mr. Rock’s Motion to Consolidate was filed in Chamorro on September 3, 2014. [Case
No. 1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML, Filing No. 6.]
4.] The NCAA “does not oppose the Chamorro case being reassigned to Judge Magnus-Stinson.”
[Filing No. 92 at 2.]
In his reply, Mr. Rock confirms his belief that consolidation or transfer will not affect the
Rock case schedule. [Filing No. 93 at 1.] Mr. Rock indicates that Mr. Chamorro has already
produced his initial disclosures and all relevant documents in his possession, and that the parties
have tentatively agreed to Mr. Chamorro’s deposition occurring in late October. [Filing No. 93 at
B. Applicable Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42 provides that “[i]f actions before the court involve a
common question of law or fact,” the Court may “join for hearing or trial any or all matters at issue
in the actions . . . consolidate the actions . . . or issue any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or
delay.” The Court has discretion regarding whether to consolidate actions involving a common
question of law or fact. Star Ins. Co. v. Risk Mktg. Grp. Inc., 561 F.3d 656, 660 (7th Cir. 2009)
(citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a)(2)).
1) Request to Consolidate Cases
While Mr. Chamorro’s claims may be similar to Mr. Rock’s claims, there appear to be
material differences. The NCAA contends that it “believes that the Chamorro complaint suffers
from certain legal defects not present in the Rock complaint.” [Filing No. 92 at 2.] The NCAA
does not elaborate on what it perceives those legal defects to be, but it plans to move to dismiss
Chamorro on those grounds. [Filing No. 92 at 2.]
Additionally, Mr. Rock concedes that there are differences in the putative class definitions
in the two cases. [Filing No. 90 at 2.] Mr. Rock proposes the following class:
[Filing No. 46 at 22.] Mr. Chamorro proposed the following two classes:
[Case No. 1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML, Filing No. 1 at 27.]
A cursory review of the proposed class definitions reveals material differences—most obviously that Rock pleads one putative class while Chamorro pleads two. The Court also notes that
the putative multi-year prohibition class in Chamorro requires class members to have received “a
full scholarship, grant or tuition discount,” [Cause No. 1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML, Filing No. 1 at
27 (emphasis added)], while the comparable class in Rock does not require the receipt of a full
scholarship, [Filing No. 46 at 22]. Additionally, the putative multi-year prohibition class in Rock
requires that the individual have “subsequently paid tuition at a college, university or other institution of higher education,” [Filing No. 46 at 22], while the putative class in Chamorro omits that
Given the NCAA’s forthcoming motion to dismiss Chamorro on alleged legal defects not
present in Rock and the differences between the putative classes proposed in these actions, the
Court concludes that it is not appropriate to consolidate Rock and Chamorro. Mr. Rock’s case has
been pending for more than two years, while Mr. Chamorro’s case is in its infancy. Mr. Rock was
given a “final chance to amend his complaint” before filing his operative pleading, [Filing No. 45
at 3], and consolidating Mr. Chamorro’s case with his could be a way around that order. Mr.
Rock’s case has survived a motion to dismiss, while Mr. Chamorro’s case has not yet survived a
motion of that nature. 2 Mr. Rock’s case is on the eve of a class certification motion, while Mr.
Chamorro proposes two classes with varying definitions. For these reasons, the Court DENIES
Mr. Rock’s Motion to Consolidate Cases. [Filing No. 90.]
In response to Mr. Rock’s motion, the NCAA states that it would not object to Mr.
Chamorro’s action being reassigned to the undersigned district judge. [Filing No. 92 at 2.] Mr.
Rock does not request reassignment as alternative relief should his consolidation request be denied,
but the Court finds it appropriate to address the NCAA’s proposal.
Local Rule 40-1 provides for the Court’s random, confidential assignment of cases to the
judicial officers. Local Rule 40-1(e) provides that “[w]hen the court determines that two cases are
related, the case filed later may, in the court’s discretion, be transferred to the judicial officer handling the earlier-filed case.” Pursuant to this rule, reassignment is within the Court’s discretion
and is not automatic even when the cases are related.
Adjudicating the motions to dismiss in Mr. Rock’s case and its predecessor (Agnew v. NCAA,
Cause No. 1:11-cv-00293-JMS-MJD) resulted in protracted litigation, which the Court suspects
would, despite the parties’ purported intentions, require the parties to deviate from the alreadyextended case management deadlines set in Mr. Rock’s aging litigation.
The Court sees no reason to reassign Chamorro to the undersigned district judge. The
NCAA has already asserted that it intends to file a motion to dismiss based on alleged legal deficiencies in Mr. Chamorro’s case that are not present in Mr. Rock’s case. Because the NCAA has
not elaborated on the bases for that motion, the undersigned cannot determine how many Court
resources would be saved by reassignment, if any.
Chief Judge Young is eminently capable of ruling on the merits of the NCAA’s forthcoming motion to dismiss and presiding over Mr. Chamorro’s claims, should they survive the NCAA’s
motion. Judicial officers in this District frequently preside over similar issues against same or
similar litigants. For example, in Welch v. Eli Lilly & Company, Cause No. 1:06-cv-0641-RLYDML, after years of litigation, the Court ultimately severed each individual plaintiff’s employment
discrimination action against the same employer and ordered each case to be randomly assigned
to a district judge and a magistrate judge. [Case No. 1:06-cv-0641-RLY-DML, Filing No. 541 at
3-4 (resulting in at least twenty individual employment discrimination actions against the same
employer being presided over by various district judges); see also Askren v. Dolgencorp, Inc.,
1:10-cv-483-TWL-DML (one of twenty-five actions against Dolgencorp, Inc. distributed among
various district court judges on April 23, 2010 after being transferred from multi-district litigation).]
The parties have presented no convincing reason for reassigning Mr. Chamurro’s action to
the undersigned district judge. Accordingly, the Court determines that reassignment is not appropriate.
For the reasons explained herein, the Court DENIES Mr. Rock’s Motion to Consolidate
Cases. [Filing No. 90.] The Court directs the Clerk to also docket a copy of this order in Cause
September 23, 2014
Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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