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LAWYERS JOCKEY FOR VENUE IN MASSIVE TOYOTA LITIGATION

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Published on Thu, Mar 11, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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(ALM) LOS ANGELES — Plaintiffs' lawyers have been positioning themselves for a front seat in the mounting litigation arising from the sudden unintended acceleration problems in vehicles manufactured by Toyota, says Amanda Bronstad of ALM's Law.com. "Approximately 150 lawyers assembled on Friday at the InterContinental Chicago hotel to discuss sharing experts and legal strategies in the Toyota litigation, which now exceeds 80 lawsuits," says Bronstad. Many of the lawyers have evidently broken into camps based on which jurisdiction they believe should hear the multidistrict litigation against Toyota — and, perhaps more importantly, which judge should decide the cases. One of the most popular districts under consideration is the Central District of California in Los Angeles, near the headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. Lawyers supporting this locale include products liability attorneys Mark Robinson Jr. and Richard McCune as well as Toyota's lawyers, Cari Dawson and Lisa Gilford, both partners at Atlanta's Alston & Bird. McClune was the first into court against Toyota. Another group is advocating for Kentucky, where Toyota operates its largest manufacturing plant outside Japan. A third group is pushing for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans, which recently heard MDL proceedings involving Merck & Co. Inc.'s painkiller drug Vioxx. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled a hearing in the Toyota litigation on March 25. "This is going to be like a feeding frenzy," said Robinson, a partner at Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson in Newport Beach, Calif., who filed a motion with the MDL panel on Feb. 26 to transfer the cases to Los Angeles. More at: Law.com.

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