The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has denied a request to transfer three actions pending in two federal district courts alleging that Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. misrepresented its Nutella® spread as a healthy and nutritious food. In re: Nutella Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 2248 (JPML, decided August 16, 2011). While the parties agreed to centralize the cases for purposes of conducting pre-trial proceedings, they could not agree on whether California or New Jersey would be the appropriate transferee court.
Denying the request to transfer, the JPML stated, “The actions may share some factual questions regarding the common defendant’s marketing practices, but these questions do not appear complicated. Indeed, the parties have not convinced us that any common factual questions are sufficiently complex or numerous to justify Section 1407 transfer at this time.” The JPML opined that “[c]ooperation among the parties and deference among the courts should minimize the possibility of duplicative discovery and inconsistent pretrial rulings.”