Heartland Lawsuits to be Heard in TexasJudge Transfers Class Action Suits to Houston Court
The lawsuits will be heard in the Southern District Court of Texas in Houston by Judge Lee H. Rosenthal. The decision notes that the panel's members "are persuaded that the Southern District of Texas is an appropriate transferee forum for this litigation."
Both Heartland and some plaintiffs had argued for the consolidated suits to be heard in Texas, and the panel notes "Judge Lee H. Rosenthal has the time and experiences to steer this litigation on a prudent course."
According to attorney Richard Coffman, who is representing two of the financial institutions in class action suits (the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union and Lone Summit Bank), the decision was turned around quickly.
Coffman expressed confidence in Judge Rosenthal's abilities to handle the consolidated class action suits. "Judge Rosenthal is experienced in class action matters and is a fair and even-handed judge. She moves her docket beautifully -- we couldn't have pulled a better judge for this case."
At the hearing, attorneys for all but two of the 30 plaintiffs asked for the case to be heard in Houston. Only two plaintiffs, one bank in New Jersey and one in Florida, asked for the case to be heard in those court districts. Heartland's reason for the case to be heard in Texas is the IT personnel who would be called as witnesses are located there, Coffman notes.
"Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary," the panel stated in its decision.
Coffman says the case may begin the transfer process to the Southern District of Texas. The case management conference will begin as soon as Judge Rosenthal sets the date, depending on her docket availability, Coffman says.