Barrett et al v. Michael Stapleton Associates, Ltd.

Filing 12

ORDER DENYING TRANSFER re: pldg. ( 1 in MDL No. 2799) The motion to transfer, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1407, is DENIEDSigned by Judge Sarah S. Vance, Chair, PANEL ON MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION, on 12/5/2017. Associated Cases: MDL No. 2799, NYS/1:17-cv-05468, TXN/3:17-cv-01362 (CMD)

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UNITED STATES JUDICIAL PANEL on MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION IN RE: MICHAEL STAPLETON ASSOCIATES, LTD., FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA) AND WAGE AND HOUR LITIGATION MDL No. 2799 ORDER DENYING TRANSFER Before the Panel:* Defendants Michael Stapleton Associates, Ltd (MSA) and Michael O’Neill, MSA’s chief executive officer, move to centralize two actions in the Southern District of New York. The actions, which are listed on the attached Schedule A, are pending in the Southern District of New York (Barrett) and the Northern District of Texas (Blackmon), respectively.1 The Barrett plaintiffs take no position on centralization, but specifically object to litigating outside of the Southern District of New York. The Blackmon plaintiffs oppose centralization. On the basis of the papers filed and the hearing session held, we deny defendants’ motion. These actions share factual issues arising from allegations that MSA forced its explosive detection canine handlers to perform a substantial amount of work without compensation. This uncompensated work purportedly included working with, training, and caring for the dogs, even though such tasks were a required and essential part of the handlers’ jobs. Nevertheless, there are only three actions (including the one potential tag-along) pending in two districts. The factual issues appear relatively straightforward, and unlikely to require extensive discovery. In addition, the litigation is unlikely to grow substantially, as the universe of potential plaintiffs is small – approximately 500.2 These circumstances indicate that cooperation and informal coordination by the involved courts and counsel are feasible. See In re: Crest Sensitivity Treatment & Prot. Toothpaste Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., 867 F. Supp. 2d 1348, 1348 (J.P.M.L. 2012) (denying centralization and listing examples of mechanisms available to prevent redundant discovery). Indeed, the Blackmon plaintiffs represent that they already have coordinated with the Barrett plaintiffs with respect to pre-mediation discovery. There is no apparent reason such coordination cannot continue. * Judge Lewis A. Kaplan and Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle took no part in the decision of this 1 The Panel has been informed of one additional federal action involving related issues. matter. 2 According to defendants, MSA employed approximately 471 canine handlers during the three-year period between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2017. -2IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the motion for centralization of these actions is denied. PANEL ON MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION Sarah S. Vance Chair Marjorie O. Rendell R. David Proctor Charles R. Breyer Catherine D. Perry IN RE: MICHAEL STAPLETON ASSOCIATES, LTD., FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA) AND WAGE AND HOUR LITIGATION SCHEDULE A Southern District of New York BARRETT, ET AL. v. MICHAEL STAPLETON ASSOCIATES, LTD., C.A. No. 1:17-05468 Northern District of Texas BLACKMON v. MICHAEL STAPLETON ASSOCIATES LTD, C.A. No. 3:17-01362 MDL No. 2799

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