In an opinion today, Judge Furman certified for interlocutory appeal a question about calculating economic losses in the GM ignition switch litigation (covered here).  One reason for doing so, he ruled, was that in the context of an MDL, where there are powerful pressures to settle, these sorts of questions would never otherwise be the subject of a final judgment that would be heard in an ordinary appeal:
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In a 102-page ruling Friday, Judge Furman granted in part, and denied in part, a motion to dismiss certain of the claims being pursued in the GM ignition switch MDL.

Perhaps most significantly, Judge Furman rejected the plaintiffs’ claims that were based on the theory that all GM customers – including those who bought GM cars without any defect — were injured because they “thought they were buying cars made by “a ‘brand that had a reputation for producing safe and reliable cars,’” but were really buying cars from a cost-cutting company whose misconduct “result[ed] in lower resale values across the board” for the plaintiffs.

Judge Furman noted that the theory was concededly unprecedented, and emphasized that a major new legal claim should be created by the legislature, not the courts:
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Yesterday, Judge Furman issued a written opinion following up on his earlier denial of a motion to replace the lead plaintiffs’ counsel for the ongoing GM ignition switch litigation.  Judge Furman lauded the plaintiffs’ steering committee for coordinating the massive litigation effort – including over three hundred depositions and almost fifty motions in limine – in just a year and a half.  Judge Furman reiterated that the motion was untimely, and that the movants (other plaintiffs’ counsel with concerns about the direction of the MDL’s leadership) had not met the high burden for unseating lead counsel.

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Earlier today, GM settled with the third bellwether plaintiff prior to trial in the ongoing litigation over allegedly defective ignition switches in GM vehicles.  Of three bellwether cases so far, the first was withdrawn before a verdict, the second was decided in GM’s favor, and the third has now settled.  Plaintiff’s counsel in the third

Yesterday, Judge Furman, dismissed from the bench the fraudulent misrepresentation claim in the second bellwether trial for the GM ignition switch multidistrict litigation.  Judge Furman dismissed the claim in response to GM’s motion judgment as a matter of law filed after GM rested its case last Friday.  The decision came in part because the bellwether

Yesterday, Judge Furman rejected an attempt to unseat the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the GM ignition switch multidistrict litigation (see our previous post on the motion here).  Judge Furman described the allegations that lead counsel had mismanaged the bellwether trial schedule in order to maximize fees as “sometimes wild” and “Monday morning quarterbacking.”  Judge

In a motion filed this week – described as “no easy motion” but “the right motion” that “has to be made” – a plaintiff’s lawyer in the GM ignition switch multidistrict litigation asked Judge Furman to remove the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel and reconsider the bellwether trial schedule in the wake of GM’s victory in the first bellwether case.  The motion claims that the co-leads prioritized the order of bellwether trials in concert with GM based on the potential share of fees and not the merits of each case.  The motion further alleges that the case originally scheduled for the first bellwether trial (which, according to the motion, was much stronger on the merits) was removed when counsel would not agree to split the fees with the co-leads.

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