Jessica Karmasek Aug. 28, 2015, 11:16am


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - Nearly a dozen class action lawsuits filed against boxer Manny Pacquiao and his promoters, for allegedly concealing a shoulder injury ahead of his fight against Floyd Mayweather in May, will be consolidated in a California federal court.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a transfer order Aug. 17.

The five-member panel selected the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to handle the lawsuits, saying the federal court will serve “the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct” of the litigation.

“These actions share factual questions arising from allegations that Defendant Pacquiao suffered a severe torn rotator cuff injury to his right shoulder approximately one month before the fight,” wrote Sarah S. Vance, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and chair of the panel. “Plaintiffs in each of the actions allege that Pacquiao and the other defendants failed to disclose this injury to the public and, in fact, misrepresented Pacquiao’s health prior to the fight, ostensibly so as not to risk the alleged $300 million in revenue from pay-per-view purchases of the fight.

“Although there is some variation in the causes of action asserted by the plaintiffs, all are based upon the theory that members of the public were fraudulently induced to purchase the pay-per-view showing of the fight.”

Pacquiao and his promoters are facing more than a dozen lawsuits for failing to disclose the injury in the lead up to his fight with Mayweather. The fight, held at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, was billed as “The Fight of the Century.” The match was televised through a pay-per-view jointly produced by HBO and Showtime.

The MDL panel noted in its order last week that the litigation -- which currently consists of at least 10 actions pending in eight districts -- involves “overlapping” putative classes of pay-per-view purchasers.

Centralization, the judges said, will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.

The Central District of California was the most logical choice for the litigation, the panel said, since it has the largest number of related actions of any district and has a significant “nexus” to the litigation.

“Pacquiao allegedly trained for the fight, suffered the shoulder injury, and sought medical treatment at locations within the district,” Vance wrote for the panel. “Thus, documentary evidence and witnesses concerning the injury at the center of this dispute likely will be located within the Central District of California.”

Judge R. Gary Klausner will preside over the matter, according to the panel’s order.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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