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Toyota Litigation Consolidated in Santa Ana

Judge James V. Selna will oversee the disposition of cases.

by on Apr.12, 2010

Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from Toyota's sudden acceleration problems could wind up bearing heard as one in a California courtroom.

A panel of judges has decided that all cases against Toyota Motor Company should be consolidated in a court close to Toyota’s California headquarters.

The panel selected Judge James V. Selna to preside over the litigation and coordinate pretrial discovery, where potentially damaging internal Toyota documents will be turned over to litigants.

Nearly two hundred suits have been filed concerning Toyota and its handling of unintended acceleration matters in U.S. federal and state courts. A finding by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it covered up a safety related defect, and delayed needed recalls concerning defective accelerator pedals compromises Toyota’s legal position. (See Toyota Broke Law! NHTSA Seeks Maximum Fines)

Toyota’s position is further weakened by Dimitrios Biller, a former Toyota attorney who sued the company last August, claiming that Toyota deliberately withheld evidence in rollover cases. That matter is currently in mediation in what looks to be a lengthy legal path. Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has subpoenaed but not revealed (at least officially) some of Biller’s documents, alleges that they show possible violations of court discovery orders. (See Towns Claims Toyota Withheld Rollover Data )

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Viewers of TheDetroitBureau.com might recall that we reported at length last year that Dimitrios Biller, the attorney involved in Toyota’s rollover litigation from 2003 to 2007 has a troubling prior history of suing employers, including the prosecutor’s office in California, where he also once worked before being dismissed. (Click here, and here.)

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