Toyota

Judge forecasts 2013 trial date in Toyota MDL

The first trial in the multidistrict litigation against Toyota Motor Corp. over sudden, unintended acceleration won't begin until early 2013, a federal judge said on Friday.

U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., who is overseeing the MDL involving more than 200 lawsuits, asked lawyers on both sides during a status conference to select three to five "bellwether" cases by April 15 that might be suitable for trial. He acknowledged that the first sudden acceleration trial in the country could occur outside the MDL — in Texas, where a judge in Houston is handling dozens of claims against Toyota in state court. That proceeding could begin in 2012, Selna said.

During the hearing, Eric Kizirian, a partner at Los Angeles-based Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgard & Smith, made his first appearance. Kizirian represents all the Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the MDL except Bob Baker Lexus. That's the dealership that provided a vehicle that suddenly accelerated, killing a California Highway Patrol officer and three passengers. On Jan. 8, Los Angeles County, Calif., Judge Anthony Mohr held off approval of a $10 million settlement between the family members and Toyota after Bob Baker Lexus raised questions about the deal.

(Published by Law.com - January 14, 2011)

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