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Malden Transportation, Inc. v. Uber Technologies, Inc.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
November 3, 2017
Malden Transportation, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant. Anoush Cab, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant. Dot Ave Cab, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant. Max Luc Taxi, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant. Gill & Gill, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc. et al, Defendant. Sycoone Taxi, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant. Taxi Maintenance, Inc. et al., Plaintiffs,
Uber Technologies, Inc., Travis Kalanick, and Garrett Camp, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 5, 2017, this session ordered the consolidation for
pre-trial matters of the seven above-captioned actions,
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2). The Court found that the
actions involve common questions of law and fact and that
their consolidation would serve the interests of judicial
economy and efficiency. Counsel for the various plaintiffs
were also directed to “consult and submit to this Court
a proposal for coordination of the prosecution of such
actions.” Plaintiffs, accordingly, submitted a
“motion for entry of coordination order”,
including a “proposed coordination order”.
Because the Court finds that proposal inadequate to ensure a
workable consolidation of the cases, plaintiffs' motion
for proposed entry of coordination order (Docket No. 68) will
be denied without prejudice.
proposed coordination order (“the plan”) is a
marked improvement over their proposal offered in opposition
to defendants' motion to consolidate cases. The proposed
Executive Committee, which the Court considers to be
essential, is a welcome development. The provisions for
ensuring protection of sensitive information are also
acceptable. Nonetheless, the plan falls short.
Court directed that the cases be consolidated, yet the
plaintiffs' proposal continues to describe coordination
rather than consolidation. The difference is more than
semantic. Plaintiffs' proposed order fails to ensure that
these cases will proceed as one action. The plan provides,
for instance, that “[t]he Actions will be prosecuted,
as much as possible, collectively by the Executive
Committee” (emphasis added). In addition, plaintiffs
Counsel for plaintiffs who disagree with the Executive
Committee or who have individual or divergent positions may
present written and oral arguments, conduct examinations of
deponents, and otherwise act separately on behalf of their
clients as appropriate[.]
provisions jeopardize effective consolidation.
Plaintiffs' proposal “may waste time and money,
confuse and misdirect the litigation, and burden the court
unnecessarily.” See Manual for Complex Litigation
(Fourth) § 10.221 (2004). The Court consolidated these
cases to avoid such pitfalls and intends to do so.
Accordingly, the Court will not adopt the first sentence of
Paragraph 4 or the entirety of Paragraph 9 of the proposed
order. Plaintiffs are free to resolve intramural disputes as
they see fit but they need to present their cases to the
defendant and to the Court uniformly.
addition to the Court's power to consolidate actions
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 42, a court may “issue any other
orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(3). Under the aegis of that Rule,
“the appointment of lead counsel is now commonplace in
complex litigation.” 9A Charles A. Wright et al.,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 2385 (3d ed. 2007)
(collecting cases). Less drastic than the appointment of lead
counsel is the appointment of liaison counsel. The Manual for
Complex Litigation describes liaison counsel as typically
[c]harged with essentially administrative matters, such as
communications between the court and other counsel (including
receiving and distributing notices, orders, motions, and
briefs on behalf of the group), convening meetings of
counsel, advising parties of developments, and otherwise
assisting in the coordination of activities and positions.
Such counsel may act for the group in managing document
depositories and in resolving scheduling conflicts.
for Complex Litigation (Fourth) § 10.221 (2004) (citing
In re San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Litig., 1989 WL
168401, at *19-20 (D.P.R. Dec. 2, 1988)) (emphasis added).
responsibilities can be contrasted with those of lead counsel
Charged with formulating (in consultation with other counsel)
and presenting positions on the substantive and procedural
issues during the litigation. Typically they act for the
group-either personally or by coordinating the efforts of
others-in presenting written and oral arguments and
suggestions to the court, working with opposing counsel in
developing and implementing a litigation plan, initiating and
organizing discovery requests and responses, conducting the
principal examination of deponents, employing experts,
arranging for support services, and seeing that schedules are
appropriate choice for a particular case is the role that
will achieve “efficiency and economy without
jeopardizing fairness to the parties.” See Id.
Here, the Court believes that an Executive Committee, acting
through an identified liaison counsel, should be charged to
do just that. Cf. State of N.J. Dep't of Envtl. Prot. v.
Gloucester Envtl. Mgmt. Servs., Inc., 138 F.R.D. 421, 429
(D.N.J. 1991) (discussing the appropriateness of liaison
counsel). In fact, the measures that defendants propose align
more with the duties of liaison counsel than to the lead
counsel responsibilities described above.
request that the court appoint, or direct plaintiffs to