Judge Appoints Class-Action Attorney Steve Berman of Hagens Berman in Consolidated Toyota Litigation


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SANTA ANA, CA - May 15, 2010: U.S. District Judge James V. Selna appointed class-action lawyer Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, to co-lead counsel YESTERDAY in the massive multi-district litigation against Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.

Berman's charge is to lead one of the largest consolidations of class-action cases in U.S. history, combining more than 300 state and federal suits concerning acceleration defects tainting Toyota vehicles. Berman and his co-lead counsel were selected from among more than 70 law firms applying for the role.

"It's a privilege that Judge Selna chose us to handle this massive litigation against Toyota," said Berman. "It's a great responsibility to lead a class of this magnitude and it's something we believe Hagens Berman has the experience and talent to achieve on behalf of the consumers we represent."

Berman and his co-lead counsel will direct litigation concerning the alleged economic damages suffered by consumers, while another group of attorneys appointed by Judge Selna will litigate personal-injury cases tied to the defect issue.

Berman along with two other attorneys appointed as interim co-counsel, submitted a preliminary report last month outlining recommendations for the discovery process involving what are assumed to be millions of pages of documents relating to the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of Toyota's products and programs.

"Judge Selna brought together a team of attorneys who bring an enormous amount of legal talent and hardscrabble courtroom experience," Berman stated. "I look forward to leading such a stellar team of advocates for the plaintiffs along with my co-counsel."

Berman originally filed a number of state claims against Toyota, claiming the world's largest auto manufacturer should allow consumers to return the defective cars for a pro-rated refund.

"We expect Toyota to mount a vigorous defense, and one should never underestimate a company that can dedicate such massive resources as Toyota," Berman said. "The legal team Judge Selna selected is second to none, and ready for this battle."

Berman and his firm have a long record of success in managing large, complex multi-district litigation such as the Toyota case. The firm recently concluded the Average Wholesale Price litigation against several pharmaceutical makers, and last month settled a $200 million MDL case against Charles Schwab after charging that the investment firm allegedly deceived investors by misrepresenting the risks associated with its YieldPlus Funds. Berman and his firm also represented 13 states against Big Tobacco, winning the largest settlement in court history.

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