MDL lawyers angle for airports and justice

Steve Korris Jan. 17, 2007, 4:25am

San Antonio: Easy in, easy out

Atlanta: Direct flights to litigation

Attorneys don't always argue over judges at sessions of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

Sometimes they argue over airports.

At a Nov. 30 Panel session in St. Louis, Roanoke Companies Group attorney Edward Ruff of Chicago cited Atlanta's airport as a reason to send a group of cases to Atlanta.

He said Atlanta has the second busiest airport in the world and added, "There are direct flights from each of the cities where cases are now pending."

Mikal Watts of San Antonio, representing plaintiffs suing Roanoke Companies Group, called for centralizing cases in San Antonio.

He said, "We realize we are only the ninth largest city in the United States and not the second largest airport in the world, but it is possible to get into San Antonio from pretty much every major metropolitan area in the United States."

Panel member Frederick Motz said, "Make it out of the airport quicker."

Watts said, "We like to think so."

In another case, plaintiffs suing Wachovia Securities favored Los Angeles and Wachovia favored New York City.

For Wachovia, Lorie Almon of New York City said there was a direct one hour flight from New York to Richmond, Va., where Wachovia's books are kept.

She said, "There is no airline that offers a direct flight, we found, unfortunately, between Richmond and Los Angeles which is thousands of miles away."

Plaintiffs did not rebut her assertions.

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