In its first consolidation order since September of last year, the Multidistrict Litigation Panel has combined 77 lawsuits against Ford pending in 28 Texas counties. There is coverage of this order in the Detroit News in an article titled “Ford Faces Lengthy Lawsuits.”

The MDL opinion, written by Justice Lang of the Fifth Court of Appeals, is available here. Although these multidistrict reviews are decided by a special MDL panel, these cases are assigned docket numbers on the Texas Supreme Court’s regular docket. This case is No 07-0953.

MDL is governed by Texas Rule of Judicial Administration 13, which provides that:

The MDL Panel may order transfer if three members concur in a written order finding that related cases involve one or more common questions of fact, and that transfer to a specified district court will be for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of the related cases.

Texas Rule of Judicial Administration 13.3(l)

By my count, there are currently two other pending MDL petitions — both filed last week: In re Louis Dreyfus Pipeline LP Pipeline Tax Litigation, No. 08-0131 docket sheet, and In re Delta Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 08-142 docket sheet.