United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
matter is before the court pursuant to Defendant South
Carolina Electric & Gas Company’s
(“SCE&G”) Motion to Consolidate Solely for
Purposes of Discovery and Pretrial Motions requesting
consolidation of all cases “before this Court against
SCE&G with respect to the 1, 000 year probability
rainstorm event that occurred in October 2015 (the
‘Flood Cases’).” Funderburk v.
SCE&G, C/A No. 3:15-cv-04660-JMC, ECF No. 20 at 1
(D.S.C. May 19, 2016); Snyder v. SCE&G, C/A No.
3:15-cv-04926-JMC, ECF No. 17 at 1 (D.S.C. May 19, 2016);
Dennis v. SCE&G, C/A No. 3:16-cv-01142-JMC, ECF
No. 8 at 1 (D.S.C. May 19, 2016). In its Motion, SCE&G
asserts that the Flood Cases should be consolidated pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42 for purposes of
“conducting discovery and filing and presenting
argument on pre-trial motions” because (1) the cases
involve common questions of law and fact and (2)
consolidation “will reduce costs, enhance efficiency,
lower the burden of litigation, and further administrative
convenience for the Court, the witnesses, and the parties,
and will do so without prejudicing any party’s
rights.” Funderburk, ECF No. 20 at 1;
Snyder, ECF No. 17 at 1; Dennis, ECF No. 8
at 1. The only opposition to SCE&G’s Motion to
Consolidate is presented by CSX Transportation, Inc.,
SCE&G’s co-Defendant in 3 of the Flood
LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS
42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
where actions involve a common question of law or fact, the
court may “(1) join for hearing or trial any or all
matters at issue in the actions; (2) consolidate the actions;
or (3) issue any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or
delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a). “District courts have
broad discretion under F[ed]. R. Civ. P. 42(a) to consolidate
causes pending in the same district.” A/S J. Ludwig
Mowinckles Rederi v. Tidewater Constr. Corp., 559 F.2d
928, 933 (4th Cir. 1977) (citation omitted).
“[C]onsolidation is appropriate when to do so will
‘foster clarity, efficiency and the avoidance of
confusion and prejudice.’” Workman v.
Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., C/A Nos. 4:12-cv-02567-JMC,
4:11-cv-01734-JMC, 2013 WL 2285937, at *3 (D.S.C. May 23,
2013) (citation omitted).
support of its Motion, SCE&G offered the following
statements to demonstrate the existence of common questions
of both law and fact:
Each of the Flood Cases alleges claims arising out of
SCE&G’s operation of some of the Lake Murray
spillway gates during the 1, 000-year probability rainfall
event in October 2015. Because the claims and allegations in
each of the Flood Cases challenge SCE&G’s actions
as part of this “same series of events, ” . . .,
the Flood Cases have a common factual basis that will involve
developing through discovery the same testimonial and
documentary evidence from the same SCE&G witnesses and
sources to establish the same factual predicate:
SCE&G’s operation of the Saluda Hydro Project
during the October rainfall event.
All of the 26 complaints filed in the Flood Cases allege
claims against SCE&G based on legal theories of
negligence, trespass, and strict liability. The negligence
claim in each of these cases requires a determination of
federal issues “as the source for the duty of care
resulting from SCE&G’s operation and management of
water levels at the Lake Murray Dam.” . . . Therefore,
the Flood Cases present a common question of federal law with
respect to the alleged source of a duty of care imposed on
Funderburk, ECF No. 20-1 at 4-5; Snyder,
ECF No. 17-1 at 4-5; Dennis, ECF No. 8-1 at 4-5.
opposing the Motion to Consolidate, CSX mainly argues that
the Flood Cases are not all the same because the property of
Plaintiffs in its 3 Flood Cases “necessarily possess
unique characteristics, such as property value and pre-flood
condition, as well as geographical variables such as
elevation, proximity to watercourses, and the like, which may
be relevant to both liability and damages analyses.”
Dennis, ECF No. 12 at 4 (D.S.C. May 31, 2016). CSX
also argues that consolidating the 26 Flood Cases will
multiply its “discovery efforts and costs . . . despite
involvement in only three pending cases.” (Id.
considering the parties’ respective positions, the
court is persuaded that the Flood Cases should be
consolidated because they involve common questions of law and
fact. In this regard, the court is unable to conclude that
prejudice will result from the consolidation. In the
alternative, the court finds any potential prejudice does not
outweigh the benefit of judicial economy provided by
CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the court
GRANTS SCE&G’s Motion to
Consolidate Solely for Purposes of Discovery and Pretrial
Motions. Funderburk v. SCE&G, C/A No. 3:15-cv-
04660-JMC, ECF No. 20 (D.S.C. May 19, 2016); Snyder v.
SCE&G, C/A No. 3:15-cv-04926-JMC, ECF No. 17 (D.S.C.
May 19, 2016); Dennis v. SCE&G, C/A No.
3:16-cv-01142-JMC, ECF No. 8 (D.S.C. May 19, 2016). The Clerk
will enter a notice advising the parties how to designate
future filings in the Flood Cases.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The 26 Flood Cases are identified as