States Oppose USPS Effort To Centralize Mail Truck Suits –
Law360 (August 16, 2022, 3:47 PM EDT) — States, environmental groups and autoworkers on Monday asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation not to centralize three lawsuits alleging the U.S. Postal Service overlooked climate change impacts when it decided to replace its aging delivery fleet with fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
The Postal Service has argued to the JPML that the lawsuits, filed in California and New York federal district courts, all should be sent to a judge in Washington, D.C., because they assert similar claims under the same laws and could result in inconsistent pre-trial rulings. But the plaintiffs told the panel that the factors in favor of keeping the cases separate outweigh those against.
“State plaintiffs have already taken several steps to promote efficiency and coordination of these actions, including by relating two of the cases in the Northern District of California, agreeing to joint scheduling and briefing, and informally coordinating with the plaintiffs in the Southern District of New York on a process and schedule for production of the administrative record,” the states, led by California, said.
The lawsuits argue that the Postal Service, at the behest of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — appointed during the Trump administration — signed a contract to purchase vehicles before undertaking an appropriate environmental review, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. Under the contract, 90% of new vehicles were set to be powered by internal combustion engines.