Toyota Class Action Suits To Be Heard In California

Looks like California has won the legal lottery that is the Toyota recall, after a federal panel selected the Central District of California as the place to hear an amalgam of class-action lawsuits against the Japanese car maker.

A couple weeks after hearing from attorneys representing all parts of the U.S., the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled today that federal Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, CA, will be the one to hear the dozens of lawsuits filed against Toyota in the wake of their recent recalls for sudden unintended acceleration.

Now that the judge has been picked, it’s time for a flock of legal eagles to fight it out for lead attorney positions. Judge Selna will be the one to select which lawyers get that distinction.

Speaking of their decision to go with Selna, the Multidistrict panel said:

Judge Selna’s 28 years of private law practice at the very highest levels and in some of the most complex cases leaves him well prepared for a case of this magnitude.

For now, all the class action suits — ranging from injury to claims of loss in resale value — are being pooled together, mainly because, in spite of their differing allegations, they all rely on the same evidence. Judge Selna can decide whether to keep the suits pooled or split them up into smaller lawsuits.

As for Toyota, they had actually requested California’s Central District when expressing their desires to the judge in March. The location is near their U.S. HQ in Torrance, CA, and the West Coast locale means shorter and less expensive flights for Toyota executives and attorneys flying in and out from Japan during the coming months.

Here’s the panel’s explanation:

Toyota maintains its United States corporate headquarters within this district, and relevant documents and witnesses are likely located there. Far more actions are pending there than in any other district.

California Court to Hear Toyota Suits [WSJ]