LAS VEGAS » Plaintiffs who say the May 2 Las Vegas fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a fraud and they deserve their pay-per-view money back will argue their cases in front of a federal judge in California.
Judge R. Gary Klausner, the same judge hearing arguments in cases filed against the Sony movie studio related to a computer hacker attack last year, will decide if the Pacquiao cases are granted class-action status before any trial proceeds.
A panel of judges that decides whether to consolidate similar claims brought in different jurisdictions into a single courtroom ruled Friday that lawsuits filed in several states will be heard in the Central District of California where Pacquiao was said to injure his shoulder while training for the fight.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said in its decision that determining the severity and timing of the boxer’s rotator-cuff injury could require "significant factual, and possibly expert, discovery."
The panel said questions about the facts of the case, including for example who knew about the injury, are sufficiently complex to warrant consolidating the large number of related cases.
At least 32 lawsuits had been filed as of mid-May in California, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Several more appear to have been filed since.
Pacquiao and his promoter Top Rank Inc. are named in all of the lawsuits, and most include Mayweather, his promoters and cable companies HBO and Showtime.
In court filings, attorneys representing Pacquiao and Top Rank have said the claims are without merit.
An attorney for the defendants declined to comment Monday. So did representatives for HBO and Showtime. Attempts to reach Mayweather’s promoter by phone and email were unsuccessful.
The lawsuits argue the injury wasn’t revealed until after the fight, too late for 4.4 million viewers who had already paid up to $100 each to watch it. HBO and Showtime have said they earned more than $400 million from the fight.
Each of the fighters earned more than $100 million.