Sunday, March 05, 2006

Watch Those Stats

So the battle right now in the Hanger Orthopedic securities class action is focused on where the battle will be. Plaintiffs say the Eastern District of New York, Defendants say the District of Maryland, and it’s up to Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.) to settle the score – and he has.

Of course, each side had its arguments about where witnesses were located and other things you no doubt couldn’t care less about. Blah, blah, blah, you say, right? But one interesting note is that Defendants, citing Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Federal Court Management Statistics ("FCMS"), “point out -- and plaintiffs do not dispute -- that the Eastern District of New York's docket is significantly more congested than the District of Maryland's: As of September 30, 2005, the number of pending cases (civil and criminal) per active judge in the Eastern District was 622; in the District of Maryland, it was only 377.” But according to Judge Block, “FCMS does not take into account the impact of senior judges on a court's caseload.” Once that is factored in, “according to the Court's calculations, senior judges reduced the caseload per judge to 444 in the Eastern District and to 314 in the District of Maryland.”

Looks like those senior judges in EDNY are taking on quite the case load, doesn’t it? Oh, and it should come as no surprise that Judge Block might be a tad sensitive about these statistics. After all, he himself took senior status on September 1, 2005.

Result? Defendants get their transfer to Maryland.

You can read In re Hanger Orthopedic, issued February 28, 2006, at 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7549.

Nugget: “The present action bears many hallmarks of a typical securities-fraud case: it is a putative class action brought against Hanger and its principal officers; it is based on alleged misrepresentations in, and omissions from, statements originating at Hanger's Maryland headquarters; and most of the witnesses and documents relating to those statements are located in Maryland. As explained above, these factors all weigh in favor of transfer.”

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