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Youngson v. Bobo Transportation, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga

October 31, 2017

MAVIE DENISE YOUNGSON AND TIMOTHY WAYNE YOUNGSON,
v.
BOBO TRANSPORTATION, INC., OLIM KODIROV, LOGISTICS BUDDY, LLC AND LOGISTICS BUDDY TRANSPORTATION, LLC CHRYSTINA BASS AND CHRISTOPHER A. BASS,
v.
BOBO TRANSPORTATION, INC., OLIM KODIROV, PROCTER & GAMBLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY, PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, PROCTER & GAMBLE, LOGISTICS BUDDY, LLC AND LOGISTICS BUDDY TRANSPORTATION, LLC

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Christopher H. Steger United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the undersigned are Defendants' Joint Motions to Consolidate [Doc. 35 in 1:17-cv-69 and Doc. 36 in 1:17-cv-108], which motions were filed in Case No. 1:17-cv-69 (the "Youngson lawsuit") and Case No. 1:17-cv-108 (the "Bass lawsuit"). The parties appeared before the Court for oral arguments on these motions on October 25, 2017. For the following reasons, I will RECOMMEND that the Joint Motions to Consolidate in the Youngson lawsuit and the Bass lawsuit be GRANTED.

         I. ANALYSIS

         Rule 42 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits this Court to consolidate actions “if the actions . . . involve a common question of law or fact.” When considering consolidating related actions, the Court should consider whether “the risks of prejudice and confusion are outweighed by other factors including ‘the risk of inconsistent adjudications of common factual and legal issues, the burden on parties, witnesses and available judicial resources.'” Carpenter v. GAF Corp., Nos. 90-3460, 90-3461, 1994 WL 47781, at *1 (6th Cir. Feb. 15, 1994) (citing Hendrix v. Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc., 776 F.2d 1492, 1495 (11th Cir. 1985)). Once the decision to consolidate is made, however, the suits are not “merged” into a “single cause” of action, nor do the rights of the parties change. See Blanchard v. Tenn. Valley Auth., Nos. 3:09-cv-09, 3:09-cv-14, 3:09-cv-114, 2010 WL 2721491, at *2 (E.D. Tenn. July 8, 2010).

         Here, the Court finds that common questions of law and fact predominate in these two actions. The Bass lawsuit was filed on February 27, 2017. The Youngson lawsuit was filed on March 9, 2017. Both lawsuits arise from the same vehicle accident that occurred on March 16, 2016. Defendant Olim Kodirov was operating a truck on Interstate 24 in Marion County, Tennessee, when he allegedly rear-ended a line of vehicles which had slowed or stopped in traffic on the interstate. Both the Bass vehicle and the Youngson vehicle were among the vehicles involved in this collision. Consequently, the facts relating to causation of this motor vehicle accident should be virtually identical as to both sets of plaintiffs.

         Furthermore, there is almost a complete overlap among the defendants in these two lawsuits. Defendants Bobo Transportation, Inc., Olim Kodirov, Logistics Buddy, LLC, and Logistics Buddy Transportation, LLC are named in both lawsuits. Various Procter & Gamble entities (the company that allegedly shipped the goods in the truck being driven by Defendant Kodirov) are named only in the Bass lawsuit; however, all of the defendants, including the Proctor & Gamble entities, are subject to virtually identical theories of liability, to wit, negligence against defendants for the occurrence of the accident and contentions of negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent training, negligent entrustment and respondeat superior.

         Without consolidation, the Court faces a risk of inconsistent adjudication of the factual and legal issues involved. Further, it would impose a significant burden on the witnesses, parties, and the Court in trying these matters separately. And, finally, I find that there is minimal risk of confusion or prejudice in consolidation.

         II. RECOMMENDATION

         Consequently, I RECOMMEND[1]the following:

1. Defendants' Joint Motions to Consolidate [Doc. 35 in 1:17-cv-69 and Doc. 36 in 1:17-cv-108] be GRANTED, and the Youngson lawsuit, Case No. 1:17-cv-69, be consolidated with the Bass lawsuit, Case No. 1:17-cv-108.
2. The Bass lawsuit, Case No. 1:17-cv-108, should be designated as the lead case and, pending final resolution of these consolidated cases, all subsequent papers, pleadings, and motions shall be filed in Case No. 1:17-cv-108. It will not necessary for the Clerk or the attorneys to note filings on each docket sheet, as it will be understood that, because of the Court's order, each filing in Case No. 1:17-cv-108 will be deemed to have also been filed in Case No. 1:17-cv-69.
3. A Scheduling Order was entered in the Bass lawsuit, Case No. 1:17-cv-108, on May 12, 2017; however, no Scheduling Order has been entered in the Youngson lawsuit, Case No. 1:17-cv-69. Consequently, I recommend that the Court hold a Scheduling Conference requiring attendance of counsel for all of the parties in these consolidated cases, and that new scheduling deadlines be established and a new Scheduling Order be entered to allow the parties to proceed in lockstep with one another going forward.
4. Finally, I recommend that, following completion of discovery, the Court allow the parties an opportunity to revisit the decision as to whether these cases should be consolidated for purposes of trial, to allow counsel an opportunity to demonstrate, based upon evidence adduced during discovery, whether any parties would be prejudiced or the risk of ...

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