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IN RE AMERICA ONLINE
April 15, 2002
IN RE AMERICA ONLINE, INC., COMMUNITY LEADERS LITIGATION PAMELA SPENCER JOHNSON, ET AL.
AMERICA ONLINE, INC., ET AL.,
Before Wm. Terrell Hodges, Chairman, John F. Keenan, Morey L. Sear,
Bruce M. SELYA,[fn*] Julia Smith Gibbons, D. Lowell Jensen And J.
Frederick Motz,* Judges OF The Panel
[fn*] Judges Selya and Motz did not participate in the decision of this
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wm. Terrell Hodges, Chairman
This litigation presently consists of three actions: one action each in
the District of New Jersey, the Southern District of New York and the
Southern District of Ohio.*fn1 Before the Panel is a motion by the AOL
defendants,*fn2 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, to centralize these
actions in the Southern District of New York for coordinated or
consolidated pretrial proceedings. No party to these three actions
opposes the motion.
On the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, the Panel
finds that the actions in this litigation involve common questions of
fact arising out of similar allegations relating to whether the AOL
defendants owe plaintiffs minimum wages and overtime wages for time spent
in the AOL community leader program under either the Fair Labor Standards
Act, 29 U.S.C § 201, et seq., and/or various states' wage and hour
statutes. 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 the litigation, while
accordingly being necessary in order to avoid duplication of discovery,
prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings and conserve the resources of the
parties, their counsel and the judiciary.
We are persuaded that the Southern District of New York is the
appropriate transferee forum for this litigation. We note that i) the
action pending there is furthest advanced, and ii) the New York district
is the unopposed choice of the parties.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, the
actions on the attached Schedule A and pending outside the Southern
District of New York are transferred to the Southern District of New York
and, with the consent of that court, assigned to the Honorable George B.
Daniels for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings with the
action pending there.
Pamela Spencer Johnson, et al. v. America Online, Inc. et al., C.A.
Southern District of New York
Kelly Hallissey, et al. v. America Online, Inc., et al., C.A. No.
Southern District of Ohio
Donald Lowe, et al. v. America Online, Inc., ...
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