The Work

May 14, 2010 12:27 PM

What the Toyota Plaintiffs Need: More Lawyers!

Posted by Zach Lowe

If there was one thing all the plaintiffs lawyers at the massive Toyota MDL hearing could agree on Thursday, it was this: The committees overseeing the plaintiffs cases need more lawyers! Judge James Selna of federal district court in Santa Ana, Calif., who is overseeing about 200 cases that have been consolidated before him, has approved the creation of three plaintiffs committees to steer the litigation, according to Am Law Daily sibling publication The National Law Journal

The committees would total about a dozen plaintiffs attorneys, and the 70 or so lawyers who advocated for lead roles before the judge on Thursday argued that that is simply too few lawyers for such a major case, and that Selna needs to add more, the NLJ reports.

Jerome Ringler of the Los Angeles plaintiffs firm Ringler Kearney Alvarez suggested, for instance, that Selna might want to add a spot on one committee for a lawyer specifically representing rental car companies that have suffered losses as the resale value of Toyotas has plummeted. Selna has reserved a spot for nonconsumer plaintiffs, but Ringler argued that rental car companies deserved their own lawyer and not one who would represent all nonconsumers, a group that would also include dealerships, the NLJ reports. 

The bulk of the 200 cases consolidated before Judge Selna involve plaintiffs suing for losses linked to the resale value of their Toyotas in the wake of the sudden acceleration recalls. A smaller number are suing for death or injury resulting from crashes. 

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