The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation issued an order dated April 7 consolidating the chocolate price-fixing cases for pre-trial proceedings.
The order, available here, consolidates the actions before Judge Kane in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. This jurisdiction was chosen in part because it is the site of Hershey's worldwide headquarters, and relevant documents and witnesses are likely to be located in that area.
Over 71 federal lawsuits have been filed against the chocolate-makers so far, and additional lawsuits are likely to follow. The goals of pre-trial consolidation are to avoid duplication of discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.
The consolidated case is captioned In re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1935.
April 11 UPDATE: Judge Kane recused herself from the case on April 11, ordering that the case instead be assigned to Judge Christopher Conner.