Daryl Wall et al v. FCA US LLC
TRANSFER ORDER re: pldg. ( 1 in MDL No. 2744) Transferring 3 action(s) to Judge David M. Lawson in the E.D. Michigan.Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance, Chair, PANEL ON MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION, on 10/5/2016. Associated Cases: MDL No. 2744, CAC/5:16-cv-01341, MIE/2:16-cv-12571, MIE/2:16-cv-12574, MIE/2:16-cv-12758, NYE/2:16-cv-04133, TNM/2:16-cv-00055 (TB)
UNITED STATES JUDICIAL PANEL
IN RE: FCA US LLC MONOSTABLE ELECTRONIC
MDL No. 2744
Before the Panel:* Plaintiff in one action in the Eastern District of Michigan moves under
28 U.S.C. § 1407 to centralize this litigation in that district. This litigation currently consists of six
actions pending in four districts, as listed on Schedule A. Since the filing of the motion, the Panel
has been notified of seven related federal actions.1 This litigation arises out of an investigation by
the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) into certain vehicles
manufactured by FCA US LLC (FCA) that were equipped with an allegedly defective gearshift.
Each of the actions listed on Schedule A concerns economic damages and related injunctive relief
on behalf of various proposed classes of owners and lessees of the allegedly defective vehicles. Of
the seven potential tag-along actions, five are substantially similar class actions, and two are
individual personal injury actions.
All responding parties support centralization, but there is some disagreement as to the
appropriate transferee district. Defendant FCA supports centralization in the Eastern District of
Michigan. This district also has the support of plaintiffs in two actions on the motion (Hartt and
Vosburgh) and two potential tag-along actions (Barfield and Lynd).2 Plaintiffs in the Wall action on
the motion and two potential tag-along actions (Manetois and Malone) argue that the District of
Colorado or the District of Massachusetts is the most appropriate district for this litigation.
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 monostable electronic gearshift installed in certain
One or more Panel members who could be members of the putative classes in this litigation
have renounced their participation in these classes and have participated in this decision.
The related actions are pending in the District of Colorado, the District of Massachusetts,
the Eastern District of Michigan, the Western District of Missouri, and the Northern District of New
York. These and any other related actions are potential tag-along actions. See Panel Rules 1.1(h),
7.1 and 7.2.
Plaintiff in the Lynd action filed a brief in support of centralization in the Northern District
of New York but, at the hearing session, changed his position to the Eastern District of Michigan.
-2vehicles manufactured by FCA US LLC3 is defective and unreasonably dangerous in that it allegedly
fails to provide the driver with an adequate indication of whether the vehicle is in the “park” position
and lacks a safety override function that would place the vehicle in “park” automatically when a
driver exits the vehicle while it is in another gear. All actions stem from the same NHTSA
investigation and a related voluntary safety recall by defendant earlier this year and likely will
involve discovery of third parties, including the supplier of the gearshift at issue and those involved
in the investigation. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial
rulings, including with respect to class certification and Daubert motions; and conserve the resources
of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.
Plaintiffs in three actions ask the Panel to order the inclusion in this MDL of the two
potential tag-along actions involving personal injuries. Defendant opposes the inclusion of those
actions. Since no personal injury actions are presented in the motion for centralization, we will not
determine at this time whether their inclusion with the economic loss actions in this MDL is
appropriate.4 Any arguments regarding the inclusion of personal injury actions in centralized
proceedings will be considered if and when the actions are placed on a conditional transfer order.
We conclude that the Eastern District of Michigan is an appropriate transferee district for this
litigation. Three actions on the motion are pending in this district along with three potential tagalong actions. Defendant FCA US LLC has its headquarters in this district and represents that key
witnesses and documents are located there, including evidence from its gearshift supplier, ZF
Friedrichshafen AG, which has its U.S. regional headquarters in this district. Moreover, the Eastern
District of Michigan has the support of the defendant and the majority of the responding plaintiffs.
Judge David M. Lawson, to whom we assign this litigation, is an experienced jurist, and we are
confident he will steer this litigation on a prudent course.
The FCA vehicles allegedly equipped with the monostable electronic gearshift at issue are:
Dodge Charger (model years 2012-14); Chrysler 300 (model years 2012-14); Jeep Grand Cherokee
(model years 2014-15); Maserati Quattroporte (model year 2014); Maserati Ghibili (model year
2014); and Dodge Ram (model years 2012-14). The record indicates that there are factual disputes
as to whether defendant installed the gearshift at issue in Dodge Ram or Maserati vehicles, but
defendant does not dispute that further proceedings on those issues are appropriately left to the
See In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litig., 26 F. Supp. 3d 1390, 1391 n.3
-3IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the actions listed on Schedule A and pending outside
the Eastern District of Michigan are transferred to the Eastern District of Michigan and, with the
consent of that court, assigned to the Honorable David M. Lawson, for coordinated or consolidated
PANEL ON MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION
Sarah S. Vance
Marjorie O. Rendell
Lewis A. Kaplan
R. David Proctor
Charles R. Breyer
Ellen Segal Huvelle
Catherine D. Perry
IN RE: FCA US LLC MONOSTABLE ELECTRONIC
Central District of California
WALL, ET AL. v. FCA US LLC, C.A. No. 5:16-01341
Eastern District of Michigan
VOSBURGH v. FCA US LLC, C.A. No. 2:16-12571
WEBER v. FCA US LLC, C.A. No. 2:16-12574
HARTT, ET AL. v. FCA US LLC, C.A. No. 2:16-12758
Eastern District of New York
MACK, ET AL. v. FCA US LLC, C.A. No. 2:16-04133
Middle District of Tennessee
HARBIN, ET AL. v. FCA US LLC, C.A. No. 2:16-00055
MDL No. 2744
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