Anderson et al v. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02172

ORDER DENYING TRANSFER IN RE: SEAWORLD MARKETING AND SALES PRACTICES LITIGATION (NO. II) MDL No. 2640. Signed by Sarah S. Vance, Chair of the Panel on 08/05/15.

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Case Case 4:15-cv-02172-JSW MDL No. 2640 Document Document 23 34Filed Filed 08/05/15 08/06/15Page Page 1 of1 3of 3 UNITED STATES JUDICIAL PANEL on MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION IN RE: SEAWORLD MARKETING AND SALES PRACTICES LITIGATION (NO. II) MDL No. 2640 ORDER DENYING TRANSFER Before the Panel:* Defendants SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. (SeaWorld) move under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 to centralize the four actions listed on the attached Schedule A in the Middle District of Florida. Three of the actions are pending in the Southern District of California, and the fourth is pending in the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs in all four actions oppose centralization. On the basis of the papers filed and the hearing session held, we deny SeaWorld's motion. These actions do share factual issues arising from allegations that defendants have misled the public regarding, inter alia, the conditions and treatment of orcas at SeaWorld parks.1 But the three Southern District of California actions – in which a motion to consolidate is pending – essentially constitute but a single action. Plaintiffs in those actions are represented by the same law firm, and their factual allegations, proposed classes, and claims are virtually identical. The litigation thus really involves just two actions pending in two California districts. Given the small number of actions and few involved counsel, we are not convinced that centralization is necessary. Informal coordination and cooperative efforts by the parties and involved courts can minimize or eliminate duplicative discovery and other pretrial proceedings. See, e.g., In re: Eli Lilly & Co. (Cephalexin Monohydrate) Patent Litig., 446 F. Supp. 242, 244 (J.P.M.L. 1978); see also Manual for Complex Litig., Fourth, § 20.14 (2004). * Certain Panel members who could be members of the putative classes in this docket have renounced their participation in these classes and have participated in the decision. Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle took no part in the decision of this matter. 1 Examples of the alleged misrepresentations include the following: (1) orca life spans in captivity are equivalent to their life spans in the wild; (2) collapsed dorsal fins are normal; (3) SeaWorld does not separate calves and mothers; and (4) captivity in general does not harm orcas. Case Case 4:15-cv-02172-JSW MDL No. 2640 Document Document 23 34Filed Filed 08/05/15 08/06/15Page Page 2 of2 3of 3 -2- IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the motion for centralization of these actions is denied. PANEL ON MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION Sarah S. Vance Chair Marjorie O. Rendell Charles R. Breyer Lewis A. Kaplan R. David Proctor Catherine D. Perry Case Case 4:15-cv-02172-JSW MDL No. 2640 Document Document 23 34Filed Filed 08/05/15 08/06/15Page Page 3 of3 3of 3 IN RE: SEAWORLD MARKETING AND SALES PRACTICES LITIGATION (NO. II) MDL No. 2640 SCHEDULE A Northern District of California ANDERSON, ET AL. v. SEAWORLD PARKS AND ENTERTAINMENT, C.A. No. 3:15-02172 Southern District of California HALL v. SEAWORLD ENTERTAINMENT, INC., C.A. No. 3:15-00660 GAAB, ET AL. v. SEAWORLD ENTERTAINMENT, INC., C.A. No. 3:15-00842 SIMO, ET AL. v. SEAWORLD ENTERTAINMENT, INC., C.A. No. 3:15-01022