Legal Experts Continue Preparations for Next Toyota Litigation Hearing
SANTA ANA, Calif. — As the next round of hearings approach in Toyota recall litigation, prominent legal professionals nationwide are organizing for their upcoming chance to face the Japanese automaker before a federal judge next month.
HB Litigation Conferences, a continuing legal education provider, revealed late last week details about a meeting of law professionals designed to thoroughly review numerous aspects of the litigation.
Officials indicated the Toyota Recall Litigation Conference will be staged on May 12 in Santa Ana, Calif., near the courthouse where a multidistrict litigation hearing will take place the next day.
HB Litigation Conferences chief executive officer Tom Hagy explained that event speakers will provide analysis of several case elements. The ones Hagy listed include:
—A complete timeline of events.
—Discussion the specifics of the alleged defects.
—Debate over the "diminished value" and "loss of use" claims.
—Outline of investigation strategies.
—Overview of personal injury claims.
—Outline various causes of action.
—Update on the MDL process.
—Detail Toyota's public response and discuss its meaning.
—Elaborate on strategies for trial and settlement.
"We are assembling an experienced team of legal experts to address a number of urgent topics for attorneys and companies who need a full picture of where things stand in the midst of one of the largest product recalls in recent years," Hagy pointed out.
Among the experts HB Litigation Conferences expects to share analysis during the event are:
—Tim Howard, Law & Policy Doctorate program director, Northeastern University, Boston.
—David Inscho, Kline & Specter PC, Philadelphia.
—Tom Kline, Kline & Specter PC, Philadelphia.
—Christopher Seeger, Seeger Weiss LLP, New York.
—Jamie Sheller, Sheller, P.C., Philadelphia.
—Stephen Sheller, Sheller, P.C., Philadelphia.
—Peter Kaufman, Levin Papantonio, Pensacola, Fla.
These legal professionals and others likely will be squaring off against lawyers for Toyota on May 13 before U.S. District Judge James Selna. Recent reports have indicated that some lawyers estimate Toyota faces potential civil liability of more than $10 billion.
Selna already designated counsel for the initial phase of the proceedings, naming three prominent trial lawyers and their firms.
Steve Berman, of the Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman Sobel Shapiro, as well as Marc Seltzer, of the Los Angeles firm Susman Godfrey and Elizabeth Cabraser, a founding partner of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein in San Francisco were named co-lead counsel by the judge.
These individuals and firms have quite a bit of experience tackling litigation as large as what could be associated with Toyota. They have been involved with cases ranging from tobacco litigation to the Enron Corp. bankruptcy and claims arising from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Selna also picked defense attorney Cari Dawson of the Atlanta firm Alston & Bird to head up Toyota's legal team.
Complaints of unintended acceleration and other safety issues have led to the recall of more than 8.5 million Toyota vehicles worldwide.