Attorneys for Sex Trafficking Survivors Seek Consolidation of Cases Against Brand Hotel Defendants
On January 9, 2024, law firms representing victims of human trafficking filed a brief with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking to consolidate and transfer cases against the Brand-Hotel Defendants to the Honorable Algenon L. Marbley, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
According to the plaintiffs' memorandum, 53 civil actions are currently pending in 12 different U.S. District Courts, and counsel represents around 1,700 sex trafficking survivors.
On February 5, 2020, the JPML denied a request for centralization of sex trafficking claims filed against 45 defendants in In re Hotel Industry Sex Trafficking Litigation, MDL 2928. On December 6, 2023, in the In re Hotel TVPRA Litigation, Judge Marbley directed counsel to file a Motion for Reconsideration with the JPML, given significant changes in the litigation. Judge Marbley also stated his wish to serve as the transferee judge in the consolidated litigation, according to the brief.
The Motion for Reconsideration was submitted by law firms Levin Papantonio Rafferty (LPR); Babin Law, LLC; and The Zarzaur Law Firm.
"We believe that centralization provides trafficking survivors a solid path to move forward in their fight for justice," said LPR Attorney Kim Adams, who represents sex trafficking victims for the firm. "It will ensure that hotels across the U.S. are no longer a preferred venue for sex trafficking."
Hotel industry sex trafficking litigation has been plagued by "a constant re-litigation of common issues," Adams said.
As with any MDL, the benefit of centralization is getting consistent, solid decisions and setting the expectations of litigation. "I think every plaintiff deserves that," Adams said.
The trafficking cases claim that the defendants who operate hotel ventures benefited from trafficking, in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.