Friday, February 26, 2016 : D.F.S. CLASS ACTIONS TO BE CONSOLIDATED IN MASSACHUSETTS
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a transfer order early in February.
The publication Legal Newsline reports that almost 80 class action cases filed in Massachusetts against daily fantasy sports operators DraftKings and FanDuel have been ordered consolidated to one state federal court by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
The six-member panel selected the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to handle the lawsuits, observing that the move will serve the “convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.”
“These actions share factual questions arising from plaintiffs’ allegations that: (a) the DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) Defendants allowed their employees to participate in competitors’ fantasy sports contests using nonpublic information that gave them an unfair advantage over other contestants; (b) the DFS Defendants operate online daily fantasy sports contests in contravention of state anti-gambling statutes; (c) DraftKings conducted an allegedly deceptive and fraudulent initial deposit matching scheme; or (d) some combination thereof,” wrote Sarah Vance, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and chair of the MDL panel.
“Here, regardless of the (contrary) theories asserted, the actions will involve common discovery regarding the nature of the DFS Defendants’ online daily fantasy sports contests, their advertising and promotions, and their internal policies and practices,” Vance wrote.
The panel also noted — as the parties represented during oral arguments — that the defendants have relatively few employees and that some most likely will be witnesses in all of the actions.
All of the actions involve plaintiffs seeking similar relief from the defendants — namely, refunds of the losses that plaintiffs sustained while participating in online daily fantasy sports contests.
Vance observed that centralisation will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, particularly with respect to class certification, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.
“The District of Massachusetts presents a convenient and accessible forum with a significant connection to this litigation,” Vance concluded, adding that DraftKings is headquartered in the district and the individual defendants reside either in the district or nearby, facilitating discovery.
Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. will preside over the MDL, according to the panel’s order.