Leaseco, LC v. Southwestern Furniture of Wisconsin et al

Filing 69

ERROR: Document filed in wrong case by Court. (MJZ)ORDER Granting Motion to Consolidate Cases (Document # 1798 in 2L03-cv-01431-PMP-PAL) 2:09-cv-00915-PMP-PAL and 2:09-cv-01019-PMP-PAL into 2:03-cv-01431-PMP-PAL. Signed by Judge Philip M. Pro on 6/4/10. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - ASB)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT D IS T R IC T OF NEVADA *** IN RE: WESTERN STATES ) W H O L E S A L E NATURAL GAS ) A N T IT R U S T LITIGATION ) ___________________________________ ) ) N E W P A G E WISCONSIN SYSTEM INC., ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) C M S ENERGY CORPORATION, et al., ) ) Defendants. ) ) ) ARANDELL CORP., et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) X C E L ENERGY, INC., et al., ) ) Defendants. ) ) M D L 1566 2 :0 3 -C V -0 1 4 3 1 -P M P -P A L B A S E FILE 2 :0 9 -C V -0 0 9 1 5 -P M P -P A L O R D E R RE: MOTION TO C O N S O L ID A T E CASES (Doc. #1798) 2 :0 9 -C V -0 1 0 1 9 -P M P -P A L P re se n tly before this Court is Plaintiffs' Joint Motion for Consolidation of A c tio n s (Doc. #1798), filed on September 22, 2009. Defendants filed an Opposition (Doc. # 1 8 1 6 ) on October 13, 2009. Plaintiffs filed a Reply (Doc. #1833) on October 27, 2009. These cases are two of many in this consolidated Multidistrict Litigation (" M D L " ) arising out of the energy crisis of 2000-2001. In separately filed proposed class a c tio n s in Wisconsin, Plaintiffs allege Defendants conspired to engage in anti-competitive a c tiv itie s with the intent to manipulate and artificially increase the price of natural gas for 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 c o n s u m e rs by knowingly delivering false reports concerning trade information to trade in d ic e s and engaging in wash trades, in violation of Wisconsin Statutes chapter 133. Both a c tio n s assert claims under Wisconsin Statutes 133.14 and 133.18 for Defendants' a lle g e d antitrust violations. Plaintiffs in NewPage Wisconsin System, Inc. v. CMS Energy Corporation and A ra n d e ll Corp. v. Xcel Energy Inc. now move to consolidate the actions for pretrial p ro c e e d in g s and for trial. Plaintiffs contend the two actions involve similar claims and s im ila r parties, and consolidation would be efficient for the Court and the parties. Defendants respond that the Court should not decide whether consolidation is appropriate u n til after it decides class certification. Alternatively, Defendants request the Court place c e rta in limitations on consolidation, including precluding NewPage from filing any a d d itio n a l papers with respect to class certification except as to the issue of whether N e w P a g e would be an adequate class representative, holding NewPage to the December 4, 2 0 0 9 discovery deadline, and granting Defendants more time to conduct discovery re g a rd in g NewPage's addition as a plaintiff. P u rs u a n t to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), "[i]f actions before the court in v o lv e a common question of law or fact," the court may consolidate the actions. To d e te rm in e whether consolidation is warranted, the Court "weighs the interest of judicial c o n v e n ie n c e against the potential for delay, confusion and prejudice caused by c o n s o lid a tio n ." Southwest Marine, Inc. v. Triple A Mach. Shop, Inc., 720 F. Supp. 805, 8 0 7 (N.D. Cal. 1989); see also Waste Distillation Tech., Inc. v. Pan Am. Res., Inc., 775 F. S u p p . 759, 761 (D. Del. 1991) ("The savings of time and effort gained through c o n s o lid a tio n must be balanced against the inconvenience, delay or expense that might re s u lt from simultaneous disposition of the separate actions."). The Arandell and NewPage actions involve common questions of law and fact. Both actions allege the same conspiracy by the same co-conspirators based on the same core 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 f a c ts and asserting claims under the same Wisconsin antitrust statutory sections. Consolidating the two actions both for pretrial and trial is convenient for this MDL Court a n d the originating court upon remand following the conclusion of consolidated pre-trial p ro c e e d in g s . Further, it is convenient for the parties and witnesses, and would avoid the p o s s ib ility of inconsistent verdicts. There is little potential for delay, as pretrial motion p ra c tic e continues in this Court. The parties have agreed to stay consideration of the class c e rtif ic a tio n issue until this Court resolves certain other pending motions. Thus, any d is c o v e ry and additional briefing needed with respect to NewPage on the class certification m o tio n can be accomplished in the meantime. There is little likelihood of confusion as the tw o cases assert similar claims against similar parties. Any differences are easily remedied th ro u g h appropriate instructions. Defendants do not identify any prejudice they suffer by c o n s o lid a tio n . Should circumstances dictate, this Court or the originating court upon re m a n d may order separate trials. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b). However, consolidation at this ju n c tu re is appropriate. The Court will not condition consolidation as Defendants have re q u e s te d . IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Joint Motion for Consolidation o f Actions (Doc. #1798) is hereby GRANTED. NewPage Wisconsin System, Inc. v.CMS E n e rg y Corporation, 2:09-CV-00915-PMP-PAL and Arandell Corp. v. Xcel Energy Inc., 2 :0 9 -C V -0 1 0 1 9 -P M P -P A L are consolidated for pretrial and trial purposes. DATED: June 4, 2010 _______________________________ PHILIP M. PRO United States District Judge 3

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