Similar Lawsuits Pending in Multiple Texas Counties Can Have All Pretrial Matters and Summary Judgment Motions Consolidated and Decided by a Single Court
The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure readily permit a single trial court to consolidate cases with common facts or otherwise. But they do not say anything about consolidating cases pending in different counties even where the same material facts are involved. The rules to consolidate “multidistrict” litigation lie within the Texas Rules of Judicial Administration (TRJA) 11 and 13, and Texas Gov’t Code §§ 74.161-74.164. These rules permit cases pending in different counties that involve the same material questions of fact to be consolidated in one court for essentially all pretrial purposes, including summary judgment.
Requests to consolidate multidistrict litigation are decided by a special judicial panel (the “Multidistrict Litigation Panel”) which is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. To seek such a consolidation, a written motion in a prescribed format is filed in Austin with the Clerk of the Texas Supreme Court, who serves as the Multidistrict Litigation Judicial Panel Clerk. After opposing responses and a potential hearing resembling a typical appellate proceeding, the Multidistrict Litigation Panel can issue a written order to consolidate the cases for pretrial purposes in a single court, potentially providing great cost savings and consistent pre-trial rulings. The Multidistrict Litigation Panel can also assign a new judge to the cases consolidated for pretrial and summary judgment purposes.
Branscomb Law has an Austin office which can assist with filing a motion with the Clerk of the Texas Supreme Court to consolidate multidistrict litigation. If you have any questions, please email Rod Regan, or call him at (210) 598-5400.