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Panel Seeks to Consolidate Toyota Lawsuits

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 29, 2010 11:10 AM

Let the games begin! Attorneys are battling it out for the lead in the Toyota lawsuits over unintended acceleration. 

And as one attorney stated, it promises to be a "bloodbath."

A plethora of attorneys gathered in San Diego to make their two-minute pitch on the merits of their venue as the venue of choice in the Toyota lawsuits. 

Indeed, home-court advantage was in high demand. As are the potentially huge contingency fees that could be collected on any Toyota lawsuit. But with the stakes high, the number of takers is just as high. Approximately 100 Toyota lawsuits have been filed, citing the recent Toyota problems for injuries and even fatalities. The suits span the nation, but the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation intends to consolidate all these cases into a few, to make the process easier and more streamlined. 

The Panel plans to have the consolidated cases heard in a few, selected jurisdictions. As a result, the number of attorneys on the cases could be greatly reduced. 

Toyota hopes that the cases will be heard in California, where the company's U.S. operations are based. The Panel will decide on the venue in two to six weeks. The venue and jurisdiction will depend largely on which judge will hear the case and how crowded the dockets in the particular venues are. Another issue of concern would be the convenience of the venue for proposed witnesses.   

As for attorney selection, the attorneys will choose, amongst themselves, who shall emerge as the lead counsel. Several high-profile attorneys have shown up to battle for supremacy. Most notable is Mark Geragos, the attorney famous for representing Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson. 

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