A federal judicial panel has ordered that all federally filed lawsuits involving various windows manufactured by MI Windows and Doors, Inc. be consolidated in a multidistrict litigation and transferred to U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. In a Transfer Order dated April 23, 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) tapped the Honorable Chief Judge David C. Norton to preside over the MI Windows and Doors litigation (MDL 2333).
Attorneys with the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP had moved to have the lawsuits transferred to South Carolina on behalf of their client, Craig Hildebrand. MI Windows and Doors had opposed the centralization, arguing it was not appropriate.
“We are pleased with the JPML’s decision to consolidate and transfer the case to the District of South Carolina before the Honorable Chief Judge David C. Norton,” states Jordan Chaikin, Partner at Parker Waichman LLP. “The skill and experience Judge David C. Norton brings to this case will steer this litigation on a prudent course.”
Currently five lawsuits are pending against MI Windows and Doors in five federal jurisdictions. Plaintiffs allege that various windows manufactured by the company contain one or more defects that result in the loss of seal at the bead along the bottom of the glass, allowing water to enter the inside of the window and leak into structures owned by plaintiffs and putative class members.
The Panel found that all five actions pending so far involve common questions of facts. The Panel’s Transfer Order further states that the District of South Carolina “will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.” The Order points out that “one of the earliest filed and most advanced actions is pending in that district, and Judge David C. Norton, an experienced transferee judge, is familiar with the litigation.”
A multidistrict litigation allows lawsuits associated with a particular product to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated as a multidistrict litigation, each retains its own identity. If the multidistrict litigation process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.