ST. LOUIS – Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court never work in St. Louis, but seven other federal judges with vast power plan to do just that.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will assemble Thursday, Nov. 30, in the ceremonial court on the 28th floor of the Eagleton Courthouse.
The agenda covers everything from prescription drugs and asbestos disease to overtime pay and eavesdropping on Muslims.
The Panel can consolidate similar civil suits from federal courts across America and assign them to a single judge.
Judges in multidistrict cases control discovery of evidence and rule on pretrial motions. For trials they send cases back to the districts where the cases began.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints the Panel. Five district judges and two appellate judges currently serve.
Panel members have exercised their power of consolidation more than 1,000 times since Congress created the Panel in 1968.
Sometimes attorneys eagerly seek transfer to a multidistrict judge, and sometimes they resist transfer with all their might.
The pressure peaks at a hearing because attorneys must attain brilliance in minutes.
The judges can allow 20 minutes per case but they prefer to keep it shorter.
The notice of the Nov. 30 hearing states that in most cases, "…less time is necessary for the expression of all views…"
Attorneys must report to the 28th floor at 8:30 a.m., to ask for minutes.
The judges will allocate their minutes and at 9:30 a.m., oral argument will start.
After oral arguments the judges will consider cases without oral arguments.
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Chairman: U. S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges of Florida.
Other district judges: Lowell Jensen of California, Robert Miller Jr., of Indiana, Frederick Motz of Maryland, and Kathryn Vratil of Kansas.
Appellate judges: David Hansen of the Eighth Circuit and Anthony Scirica of the Third Circuit.
Office: Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington.
Case number, Case, Motion
1798: Federal excise tax on long distance phone service. Plaintiff would transfer four cases to Eastern District of Wisconsin.
1799: Vonage initial public offering. Defendants would consolidate 15 cases from New Jersey and one from New York case in one court.
1800: Buesgens litigation. Plaintiff sued U.S.A. in District of Columbia, sued others in two Texas cases; would transfer Texas cases to D. C.
1801: BP Products antitrust. Plaintiff would transfer seven cases from Northern District of Illinois and one from New York to Western District of Oklahoma.
1802: Merrill Lynch wage and hour. Defendant would transfer three cases to Southern District of New York.
1803: Banc of America Investment Services overtime pay. Plaintiffs would transfer three cases to Southern District of New York.
1804: Stand 'n Seal product liability. Defendants would transfer seven cases to Northern District of Iowa or Northern District of Georgia.
1805: Agfa photo equipment lease. Plaintiffs and third party plaintiffs would transfer Minnesota case to Massachusetts.
1806: Morgan Stanley overtime pay. Plaintiffs would transfer seven cases to Northern District of Illinois.
1807: Wachovia Securities wage and hour. Plaintiffs would transfer five cases to Northern District of Illinois.
1808: Marvel-Schebler float carburetor product liability. Defendants would transfer three cases to Middle District of Tennessee.
1809: Terminix employment practices. Defendant would transfer cases from two California districts to one court.
1810: Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems real estate settlement procedures. Plaintiffs would transfer six cases to Eastern District of Texas.
1811: Bayer Crop Science rice contamination. Plaintiffs would transfer six cases from Western District of Louisiana to Eastern District of Arkansas.
1812: People's Choice Home Loan prescreening. Plaintiff would transfer California case to Northern District of Illinois.
Without Oral Argument
Case number, Case, Motion
875: Asbestos product liability. Plaintiffs and defendants oppose transfer of three cases to Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
1373: Bridgestone/Firestone product liability. Defendants oppose remand to District of Columbia.
1456: Pharmaceutical industry wholesale prices. Plaintiff state of Hawaii opposes transfer to Massachusetts; defendants oppose transfer of case from Northern District of Illinois to Massachusetts.
1568: Parcel shipping antitrust. Plaintiff opposes transfer of case from Southern District of New York to Connecticut.
1596: Zyprexa product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of three Alabama cases to Eastern District of New York.
1598: Ephedra product liability. Plaintiff opposes transfer from Southern District of California to Southern District of New York.
1629: Neurontin marketing and product liability. Plaintiff Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama opposes transfer to Massachusetts.
1635: Dollar General fair labor standards. Plaintiffs would transfer case from Western District of Louisiana to Northern District of Alabama.
1643: Educational test scoring. Plaintiff opposes transfer from Southern District of Ohio to Eastern District of Louisiana.
1657: Vioxx marketing and product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of 12 cases to Eastern District of Louisiana.
1663: Insurance brokerage antitrust. Plaintiff opposes transfer from Southern District of Florida to New Jersey.
1672: Pharmacy benefits management. Defendant opposes transfer from Eastern District of Pennsylvania to Eastern District of Missouri.
1699: Bextra and Celebrex marketing and product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer from Eastern District of Missouri to Northern District of California.
1708: Defibrillator product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of eight cases from Central District of California and six others to Minnesota.
1715: Ameriquest Mortgage lending practices. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of four cases to Northern District of Illinois.
1718: Ford Motor Company speed control deactivation switch product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of five cases to Eastern District of Michigan.
1726: Medtronic defibrillator product liability. Plaintiff opposes transfer from Southern District of Florida to Minnesota.
1742: Ortho Evra product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of two cases from Middle District of Alabama to Northern District of Ohio.
1763: Human tissue product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of two cases from Northern District of Illinois to New Jersey.
1778: Ocean Financial prescreening. Defendants oppose transfer from Eastern District of Missouri to Northern District of Illinois.
1785: Bausch & Lomb contact lens solution product liability. Plaintiffs oppose transfer of seven cases to South Carolina.
1786: H & R Block marketing. Plaintiff opposes transfer from District of Columbia to Western District of Missouri.
1791: National security telecommunications records. Plaintiff Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation opposes transfer from Oregon to Northern District of California; other plaintiffs oppose transfers from New York and Missouri.