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A plague upon thee, Toyota

Over 250 lawyers met yesterday at the "Toyota Litigation Symposium" at the Westin hotel in San Diego, California, in preparation for the a major federal hearing today on the "sudden acceleration" problems in certain Toyota vehicles.

Sessions reportedly included topics such as “Liability issues: The Mechanical vs. Electronic Debate", "Corporate Damage Control", and "From Ford to Toyota: Lessons Learned".

Eight Toyota models have been recalled for the issue, affecting 2.3 million vehicles. "There is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position," stated the company in January.

An earlier recall due to pedal entrapment due to floor mats and a separate recall for anti-lock brake software on the Prius have led to over 100 lawsuits being filed against Toyota. There are over 9 million Toyota vehicles that have been recalled since November,  but an increasingly large number of lawsuits have been filed recently, many of which may be frivolous or suspicious.

This is illustrated by the inconsistencies in the "Runaway Prius" incident. Abnormal brake wear and refusal to shift the transmission into neutral despite being told repeatedly to do so have led authorities to investigate the driver. Jim Sykes has had a long history of financial trouble, and financial gain from a lawsuit may have been the motivating factor in the incident.

Many of the cases may be due to pedal confusion, especially amongst elderly drivers. Cases of pedal confusion have been increasing over the past several years due to an aging population.

There are also separate lawsuits filed by crash victims and family members, as well as by investors who blame Toyota stock losses on the recalls.

The lawsuits filed so far span a wide spectrum. Some are filed by crash victims and family members seeking damages, while others are from car owners seeking to recoup a perceived lost value in their vehicles. A few lawsuits are by investors who blame losses from trading Toyota's stock on the recalls.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hold its first hearing today on consolidating the cases. The seven-member Panel will decide which cases can be consolidated into class action lawsuits, and there may be several depending on their decision.

“The Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) process has established itself as an important tool for addressing complex disputes. And, in becoming familiar with the MDL device, lawyers must adjust their philosophies and notions of how cases are litigated and how they get concluded. Of course, complex litigation always provides an opportunity for creative thinking and strategic coordination. The Toyota litigation will be no different,” said Richard J. Arsenault, an organizer of the symposium.

The Judicial Panel will also decide where to send the lawsuits after they are consolidated. Nineteen jurisdictions have been suggested, included Puerto Rico.

Damages from the lawsuits could potentially amount to billions of dollars, in addition to the hundreds of millions spent on the recalls and fixing vehicles sold.

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250 Lawyers Descend on San Jose for Toyota Lawsuits
By Creig on 3/25/2010 3:45:36 PM , Rating: 5
Sounds like an ideal location for a few Claymore mines.

By Sazabi19 on 3/25/2010 3:47:25 PM , Rating: 5
How about a few bouncing betties? i think that has the potential for a little more fun:)

By Dorkyman on 3/26/2010 12:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
This is just so pathetic. Highlights precisely what's wrong with the USA.

By dubldwn on 3/25/2010 4:04:57 PM , Rating: 5
Before you go killing innocent people in San Ho, it seems that this is actually taking place in San Diego.

By Samus on 3/25/2010 6:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
I wish we still had some heroes up at Pendleton that'd pull it off for us :)

By Amiga500 on 3/26/2010 8:03:33 AM , Rating: 4
Hopefully someone happens to spot them all lined up while driving along in their Toyota.

All of a sudden, their accelerator could for some reason, happen to stick on.

Cue 250 dead lawyers.

Hopefully then more lawyers descend on the carcasses for lawsuits... it would be like a honeytrap for the bstards.

*aaahhhh.... one can but dream*

It's old people's fault!
By consumerwhore on 3/25/2010 5:09:25 PM , Rating: 4
Many of the cases may be due to pedal confusion, especially amongst elderly drivers. Pedal confusion has been increasingly over the past several years due to an aging population.

But that problem would not be so focused on one single make and model of cars. Or are old people driving exclusively Priuses?

RE: It's old people's fault!
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 6:26:55 PM , Rating: 5
The complaints are not focused on one model; they're being reported on Camry, Lexus, etc.

Of course, the per-vehicle SUA complaint rate is still just barely ahead of Ford (and lower than Volkswagen). I still haven't seen any hard data that leads me to believe this is anything but a media-generated example of collective delusion.

RE: It's old people's fault!
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 6:32:48 PM , Rating: 5
BTW, this collective delusion isn't nearly as exciting as my own personal favorite, the Disappearing Genital Epidemic of 1990:
“During 1990, an episode of ‘vanishing’ genitalia caused widespread fear across Nigeria...most reports of attacks involved male victims.

Accusations were usually triggered by incidental body contact with a stranger in a public place, after which the ‘victim’ would feel strange scrotum sensations and grab their genitals to confirm that they were still there. Then they would confront the person as a crowd would gather, accusing them of being a genital thief, before stripping naked to convince bystanders that their penis was really missing. Many ‘victims’ claimed that the penis had been returned once the alarm had been raised or that, although the penis was now back, ‘it was shrunken and so probably a ‘wrong’ one or just the ghost of a penis.’

The accused was often threatened or beaten until the penis had been ‘fully restored,’ and in some instances, the accused was beaten to death.

The 'Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic' is another classic case:

Lawsuit over stock trading losses?
By corduroygt on 3/25/2010 4:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
WTF? Stock market is risky, you know that going in. You can't sue because you lost money in the market.

RE: Lawsuit over stock trading losses?
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 4:59:04 PM , Rating: 3
While I agree with the spirit of your post, shareholder suits for lost stock value are common...and often succeed, if the plaintiff can prove malfeasance, lack of fiduciary responsibility, or some other aggravating factor.

Of course, even in a 'successful' suit, the end result is often only pennies to each stockholder-- plus a $50M payout to the lawyers who brought the suit.

By bhieb on 3/25/2010 5:10:04 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention that the loss incurred is booked and if you still have the failing stock you just hurt yourself.

By digitalreflex on 3/26/2010 3:28:20 PM , Rating: 1
WTF? Stock market is risky, you know that going in. You can't sue because you lost money in the market.

No, you don't sue, apparently you just raise the local taxes to cover it <cough> local town covers pension value lost held in stock markets</cough>

By Sazabi19 on 3/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wow...
By NesuD on 3/25/2010 5:52:25 PM , Rating: 5
Anyone with any of the potentially effected vehicles could jump onto this class action if they get a chance, with arguements ranging from "I don't feel safe anymore" to "My car trade-in value has crashed". I can see this being a really bad one here.

You might want to fix that. The correct word in that usage would be affected . If you want to point out someone's grammatical errors at least get yours correct.

Government must recuse itself
By ZachDontScare on 3/25/2010 4:20:37 PM , Rating: 3
Since the government owns a competitor, GM, I think it only appropriate that all government employees recuse themselves from any trials involving Toyota due to a conflict of interest.

RE: Government must recuse itself
By EasyC on 3/26/2010 12:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think the government should recluse itself from this whole situation...oh wait, there wouldn't be a situation if that happened.

A horde of parasitics.
By Roy2001 on 3/25/2010 5:10:54 PM , Rating: 3
A horde of parasitics.

RE: A horde of parasitics.
By The0ne on 3/26/2010 10:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, there are a lot of them out there and many more just waiting to get their share. Simply amazing imo.

Ignorance of California geography
By noirsoft on 3/26/2010 12:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
San Diego and San Jose are 460 miles apart. Which did you really mean?

By tmouse on 3/26/2010 8:07:15 AM , Rating: 3
They had to hold it in San Diego because the lawyers did not "know the way to San Jose"

By kfonda on 3/25/2010 5:42:52 PM , Rating: 3
The government has gone after the banks, the insurance companies, the oil companies, and big business so far. Why can't they go after the lawyers that do more damage than any of the other groups listed. I'm really tired of TV ads telling me I "might be entitled to compensation if (insert any one of a million things) has happened" to me.

Smelling the blood
By Supa on 3/25/2010 4:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
The sharks are coming!! The sharks are coming!!

(Jaws music playing)

Bottomfeeder Convention ?
By Beenthere on 3/25/2010 4:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
Is this a bottomfeeder Convention? Hope a judge tells them to go pound salt.

By GWD5318 on 3/25/2010 5:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
A homecoming.

With so many sharks in town it's a natural fit.

I thought...
By NT78stonewobble on 3/26/2010 5:07:20 AM , Rating: 2
Actually I was allmost betting with myself that the picture for the article would be a pack of vultures circling... lol

By Wierdo on 3/29/2010 9:30:59 AM , Rating: 2
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure"

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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