Consolidating Toyota Lawsuits

by fstrack | April 1st, 2010

Toyota Motor Corporation has been plagued by class action lawsuits filed against the automobile manufacture for Toyota vehicles with complaints of sudden acceleration.  According to Business Week at least 148 class action suits have been filed against Toyota since November.  These class action lawsuits have been filed by “consumers and shareholders, alleging the company withheld information about the risk of sudden acceleration, driving down the value of vehicles or inflating the company’s shares. At least 48 lawsuits were filed claiming injuries or deaths caused by sudden acceleration incidents.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also linked 52 deaths to acceleration problems caused by floor mats or sticky accelerator pedals.

Lawsuits nationwide have multiplied in the last few months and lawsuits have been filed in multiple jurisdictions around the country, including California, Louisiana and Kentucky.  Toyota’s U.S. sales corporate headquarters is located in Torrance, California.  On March 24, 2010, more than 150 attorneys attended a hearing in Federal Court in San Diego in front of a panel of seven federal judges who will decide whether or not to combine these lawsuits.  Many times lawsuits that have a common liability factor are consolidated together in federal court under a multidistrict or MDL litigation.  A multidistrict litigation is not handled in the same manner as a class action.  This panel of federal judges will decide if these lawsuits should be combined and the same panel of judges will decide which federal judge and court is best suited to handle this incredibly complex and undoubtedly lengthy litigation.  If combined, all cases involving common issues will be handled by a panel of attorneys appointed by the judge overseeing the case.  This panel will be known as the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee.  The multidistrict judge would decide issues regarding the production of documents, depositions of witnesses and make rulings on legal arguments pertaining to all cases.

If you or a family member has been involved in an accident involving a Toyota vehicle, the lawyers at Nurenberg Paris can help you decide the best avenue to pursue a case against Toyota.