United States District Court, Southern District of New York
December 16, 2002
IN RE SOUTH AFRICAN APARTHEID LITIGATION LUNGISILE NTZEBESA, ET AL.
CITIGROUP, INC., ET AL,
Before Wm. Terrell Hodges, Chairman, John F. Keenan, Morey L.
SEAR,[fn*] Bruce M. Selya, Julia Smith Gibbons, D. Lowell
Jensen And J. Frederick Motz, Judges OF The Panel.
[fn*] Judge Sear took no part in the decision of this matter. All other
members of the Panel participated in this decision under the "rule of
necessity" in order to provide the forum created by the governing
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1407. See In re Wireless Telephone Radio
Frequency Emissions Products Liability Litigation, 170 F. Supp.2d 1356,
1357-58 (j.p.m.l. 2001).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wm. Terrell Hodges, United States District Judge.
This litigation currently consists of two actions in the Southern
District of New York and one action in the District of New Jersey.*fn1
Plaintiffs in the three actions move the Panel, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1407, for centralization of the litigation in the
Southern District of New York. Defendants Amdahl Corporation; Citigroup
Inc.; Citicorp; Citibank, N.A.; Commerzbank AG; Dresdner Bank AG; Credit
Suisse Group; Deutsche Bank AG; General Motors Corp.; IBM Corp.; Mobil
Corp.; UBS AG; and Unisys Corporation initially opposed centralization;
however, at oral argument, defendant Credit Suisse Group asserted that
many, if not all, of these defendants as well as several defendants named
in related actions now also support centralization in the Southern
District of New York.
On the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, the Panel
finds that these three actions involve common questions of fact, and that
centralization under Section 1407 in the Southern District of New York
will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the
just and efficient conduct of this litigation. All actions seek
reparations on behalf of present and former residents of South Africa who
allegedly were victims of crimes related to apartheid in that country.
Centralization under Section 1407 is thus desirable in order to 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 Southern District of New York stands out as the appropriate
transferee forum for this litigation. We note that both moving plaintiffs
and numerous defendants now agree upon Section 1407 centralization
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, the
action pending outside the Southern District of New York is transferred
to that district and, with the consent of that court, assigned to the
Honorable Richard C. Casey for coordinated or consolidated pretrial
proceedings with the actions pending in that district.