Electrolux successfully trims consolidated action of 86 separate claims pending in Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Allstate Insurance Company sought to litigate 86 separate subrogation claims against Electrolux Home Products, Inc. in a single action in federal court in Pennsylvania. If the consolidated action remained intact, Electrolux would have been forced to defend a single trial involving 86 separate fires allegedly caused by 86 of its dryers along with the significant risk of spill-over effect in the minds of the jurors and prejudice to Electrolux. The 86 separate subrogation claims arise out of fires in 21 different states and 64 of the claims did not meet the amount in controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction. Electrolux successfully moved, in part, for an order severing the claims and dismissing the claims that did not satisfy the amount in controversy requirement.

The Honorable Joseph F. Leeson, Jr. ordered dismissal of 64 of the Allstate’s claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the amount at issue in each claim was less than $75,000. See Allstate Insurance Company v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc., No. 18-00699 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 3, 2018). Judge Leeson wrote, “[A]ttempting to charge a jury on the substantive laws of twenty-one states and requiring the jury to compartmentalize the evidence and substantive law as it pertains to each of the eighty-six claims is nothing short of an insurmountable task.”

Of the 22 remaining claims, Judge Leeson transferred 19 of the claims that had no relation to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to more appropriate districts where the fires occurred to make it easier for witnesses to appear and for courts to apply each state’s laws.

The Court retained only three claims, which originated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.