Los Angeles court chosen for runaway Toyota car lawsuits

08:48, April 12, 2010      

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The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided on Friday to consolidate and hear over 200 lawsuits against Toyota stemming from sudden acceleration and other issues in the District Court for the Central District of California.

District Judge James V. Selna will preside over more than 200 lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp, attorneys said.

Selna is expected to make hundreds of pretrial decisions, including whether the cases should be certified as classes, whether there will be bellwether trials and key rulings on the admissibility of expert testimony, according to sources.

Toyota, Japan's major carmaker which has its US headquarters in Torrance, requested that the cases be consolidated in the Central District of California which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Last month, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed first US consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota, charging that the world's top-selling automaker has endangered the public with defective vehicles and engaged in deceptive business practices. A panel heard arguments from some 25 lawyers advocating 19 different potential jurisdictions to serve as the venue where the Toyota litigation should be consolidated.

Toyota has recalled 8.5 million vehicles globally since November for problems including sticky gas pedal that causes sudden acceleration. Unintended acceleration in the company's Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been linked to at least five US crash deaths since 2007. Forty-seven other fatalities over the past decade were also believed to have had link with the Japanese auto manufacturer.

Source: Global Times


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