No Federal MDL for Hotel Industry Sex Trafficking Litigation

On February 5, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order denying the transfer of a number of sex trafficking lawsuits, shutting down the possibility of a nation-wide Hotel Industry Sex Trafficking Litigation MDL.

The panel concluded that the distinct factual differences each case presents render centralization ineffective and inconvenient. Each case has important similarities –  each plaintiff is a victim of sex trafficking and each of the hotel defendants failed or acted negligently in essentially the same manner. But the differences, according to the panel, make centralization unrealistic. While the panel “recognize[d] the seriousness of these allegations” and were “sympathetic to counsel’s concerns for fair treatment of the victims,” the panel remained unpersuaded. Specifically, the panel noted that the

“vast majority of the actions involve different hotels…different alleged sex trafficking ventures, different hotel brands, different owners and employers, different geographic locales, different witnesses, different indicia of sex trafficking, and different time periods.”

This, of course, simply means that the cases won’t be under a single court. The cases are still active, they’re just in front of different courts, spread across the country. Several cases are before Texas courts. The panel encouraged the parties to “informally coordinate” on issues like discovery.

The number of sex trafficking cases is expected to grow exponentially – something the panel recognized. And with the startling sex trafficking statistics relating to the State of Texas and the City of Dallas, we anticipate that Dallas is soon to see a spike in sex trafficking lawsuits. Disturbingly, according to New Friends New Life, a Dallas-based nonprofit, Texas ranks second in the United States for the highest number of trafficking victims. The City of Dallas is one of the top ten cities nationwide with the most sex trafficking. In Dallas alone, on any given night, an estimated 400 sex trafficking victims are forced to work the Dallas streets.

If you have any questions about the sex trafficking litigation, or the epidemic that is sex trafficking generally, including how you can become involved in fighting the spread of sex trafficking, helping the victims of sex trafficking, and Carter Law Group’s representation of and advocacy for sex trafficking victims, please reach out to Heather Davis at [email protected]

Follow the link below to read the panel’s full order on In Re: Hotel Industry Sex Trafficking Litigation