Thursday, August 27, 2015 - Close to a dozen lawsuits regarding the failure of Manny Pacquiao to disclose an injury prior to boxing Floyd Mayweather in a title bout have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The transfer order, which was issued on August 17, followed arguments made at the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) hearing in July.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuits filed against Manny Pacquiao and his management have claimed that they purchased the pay-per-view rights to watch the fight under false pretenses, as they were led to believe that both fighters were healthy. Pacquiao‘s decision to not disclose the injury to his right shoulder, a torn rotator cuff, was in the interest of protecting the entertainment value of what was billed as a $300 million fight. The fight, which took place on May 2, 2015, resulted in Mayweather defeating Pacquiao in 12 rounds by unanimous decision. The allegations claim that the misrepresentation of the injury by the defendants affected their propensity to purchase the program and that the marketing of the event was misleading without the information detailing Pacquiao‘s injury. The rotator cuff had been torn close to a month before the fight.
At least 10 actions were named in the motion to transfer filed by the plaintiffs before the JPML, with those pending lawsuits originating in eight different districts nationwide. Only one of the plaintiffs involved in the litigation against Pacquiao did not support the motion to transfer the lawsuits into multidistrict litigation. There were requests from the plaintiffs to centralize the proceedings in a number of U.S. District Courts, including before federal judges in Florida, New York, Nevada, Illinois and New Jersey. More than 30 lawsuits pending in courts from 16 district nationwide were also named in the motion to transfer and were identified as potential tag-along actions.
The fight, which was held at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, featured Paquiao and Mayweather competing in a championship fight that was widely advertised as the ‘fight of the century.‘ The fight was sold to viewers at a cost of $89.95 through the pay-per-view services offered by the television networks HBO and Showtime that presented the fight. Plaintiffs have claimed that they paid this amount to experience a fight between two healthy fighters, or be informed of any serious injury that either competitor endured leading up to the fight.
The Central District of California federal court was selected as a venue for the proceedings as the JPML ruled that a large number of relevant parties to the litigation would be conveniently served by this location. The consolidation of the lawsuits into an MDL is intended to expedite the litigation that has been filed against Pacquiao and his management, as well as eliminate duplicate discovery by the two sides in preparing for the proceedings. The allegations, which aim to pinpoint the time of the injury and the efforts by the defendants to their knowledge of it secret leading up to the fight, were deemed to be sufficiantly complex to warrant the consolidation of the lawsuits into multidistrict litigation.