The answer: The court that will host the numerous federal class actions that have been brought over mutual fund trading practices. The question: What is the District of Maryland?
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation held a hearing last month on motions for centralization in cases involving the following fund groups: Janus, Strong, Bank One, Bank of America, Putnam, and Alliance Capital. Most of the plaintiffs wanted the cases in the S.D.N.Y., while the funds appeared to favor their local federal districts. The Panel had a different idea.
In an order issued on February 20, 2003, the Panel decided that the D. of Md. will hear the cases. Three judges have been assigned: Judge J. Frederick Motz (D. Md.), Judge Andre M. Davis (D. Md.), and Judge Frederick P. Stamp (N.D. W.Va.). The Panel noted that “no district stands out as the geographic focal point for this nationwide litigation,” leading them to choose “a transferee district with the capacity and experience to steer this litigation on a prudent course.”
Thanks to Securities Litigation Watch for the link.
Addition: Judge Motz has sent out a letter to counsel discussing organizational issues. Of particular note, the D. of Md. is establishing an area on its website (www.mdd.uscourts.gov – click on “MDLs” on the left-hand side) for the mutual fund litigation.