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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Toyota will be staying close to home for its impending legal processes, which saw a major development late last week.

The plethora of acceleration-related lawsuits against the automaker will be rolled into one piece of litigation to be heard by a California federal judge in a city not too far from where Toyota has its U.S. headquarters, Bloomberg reported.

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that the lawsuits — including what Bloomberg reports are at least 177 class-action suits and at least 57 individual claims of personal injury or death — will be consolidated and overseen by U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, Calif.

Santa Ana is less than 40 miles from Torrance, Calif., which is where Toyota's U.S. headquarters are located.

Bloomberg said both sides had requested the cases be made into multidistrict litigation, where essentially one judge would preside over decisions related to things like evidence gathering and whether certain legal arguments can be made.

"The parties have suggested a number of very acceptable transferee districts and judges," the panel shared on its Web site. "However, for the following reasons, we have settled upon the Central District of California as the most appropriate choice.

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

The panel also argued that centralization "will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary."

Officials added: "Consequently, centralization will create convenience for the parties and witnesses and will promote the more just and efficient conduct of this litigation."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said: "We are pleased with this outcome, including the location."