United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Christopher H. Steger United States Magistrate Judge
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
I RECOMMENDthe 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.
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 ...