Multicounty Litigation Order in New Jersey Provides No Guidance to Practitioners

Earlier this year, we wrote about a new multicounty litigation application submitted by plaintiffs seeking centralization before New Jersey Judge Rachelle Harz. We posited that, although none of the cases that were subject to that application had been filed in Bergen County, the plaintiffs’ request that the cases be assigned to Judge Harz in Bergen County, as opposed to being assigned to one of the other designated MCL judges in Middlesex or Atlantic Counties, suggested that the plaintiffs may have a preference for Judge Harz.

Comments submitted in connection with the application included opposition to designating the cases as a multicounty litigation, but did not object to their assignment to Judge Harz should centralization be approved.

Recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted the plaintiffs’ application and, just as the plaintiffs requested, assigned the litigation to Judge Harz. However, in keeping with its prior orders granting or denying MCL applications, the NJ Supreme Court’s order does not provide any details as to why the court agreed to designate the cases as a multicounty litigation nor, in reference to our prior post, why it elected to assign and centralize the cases before Judge Harz. It can be presumed from the decision that the court rejected the arguments against centralization, but without details as to why, it is difficult for practitioners to glean much insight from the court’s decision.

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