In certain circumstances, multiple cases that arise from the same occurrence and suited separately, may be consolidated under the ambit of what’s is usually
termed a Litigation Coordinating Panel. The Litigation Coordinating Panel of the Unified Court System of the State of New York receives and resolves applications for the coordination of litigation that is pending in more than one judicial district of the State. The coordination of multiple lawsuits from a variety of venues in a single district before a single Coordinating Justice can facilitate the consistent, efficient resolution of many cases. Coordination pursuant to order of the Panel is for pre-trial proceedings.
For instance, in 2007, a steam pipe in midtown Manhattan exploded, injuring dozens, causing vast amounts of property damage, and giving rise to dozens of lawsuits. Although each lawsuit was brought by a different victim and each victim sustained different injuries, the facts bearing on the issue of liability (i.e. what happened and who is at fault) were identical for all involved. Put simply, whether a victim sustained a traumatic brain injury or a sprained ankle, the issue of responsibility for causing the explosion was identical in each case. In order to avoid inconsistent results and in the interest of efficiency, the lawsuits were consolidated by the Litigation Coordinating Panel, assigned to a single judge, and proceeded through litigation as one single case. Recently, there was an apartment fire on the Upper East Side that injured at least 16 people and caused an untold amount of property damage. It is likely that the inevitable litigation which follows will be similarly consolidated by the Litigation Coordinating Panel.
In order to maximize your compensation, it is critical to hire attorneys who will focus solely on your case and make sure that your case does not get lost in the crowd.