LOS ANGELES - In selecting U.S. District Judge James V. Selna to hear more than 100 federal lawsuits filed around the country against Toyota, a federal judicial panel also granted a formal request by the Lanier Law Firm to rename the Toyota litigation and expand its scope.
"We're thrilled," says attorney Mark Lanier, who was recently named one of the decade's most influential lawyers by the National Law Journal. "This is far from merely a mechanical problem. We intend to show that the unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles is almost certainly the result of electronic problems that Toyota failed to disclose for years."
Friday's Transfer Order by the United States Judicial panel on Multidistrict Litigation, consolidates all the federal cases to be heard by Judge Selna in the United States District Court, Central District of California.
Selna already has some experience in the Toyota Litigation, as he is currently presiding over Beard, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al., No. 8:10-cv-00183-JVS-RNB. The lawsuit covers owners of recalled Toyotas, owners who have experienced unexpected acceleration in non-recalled Toyotas, and those who have suffered financial damages as a result of recent Toyota recalls.
"Ours is the only Toyota case currently being heard by Judge Selna," says Lanier. "He has already demonstrated that he is uniquely qualified to handle the scope and breadth of the Toyota litigation."
In the Beard case, the two sides have already stipulated to cooperatively propose a Pretrial Order for scheduling, thereby establishing a protocol for the transferred cases.
Toyota has recalled more than 10 million vehicles covering 17 different models, including recalls based on unexpected acceleration, faulty floor mats, brake problems, drive shaft malfunctions, and other problems. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recorded 34 deaths attributed to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.
The Lanier Law Firm's Los Angeles office already is representing multiple plaintiffs' in claims against Toyota nationwide. The firm, whose Los Angeles office sits only a few miles from Toyota's U.S. headquarters, expects to file many additional Toyota claims in the coming weeks and months.
The Lanier Law Firm has served as lead counsel in some of the most significant product liability trials in U.S. history, including the national litigation over the painkiller Vioxx. The firm's work in the nation's first Vioxx trial resulted in a $254 million verdict, and paved the way for a multi-billion-dollar settlement of all U.S. claims over Vioxx.
For more information, please contact The Lanier Law Firm.