Toyota Cases Consolidated

     SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) A panel of judges on Friday moved to consolidate more than 100 lawsuits seeking class action status against Toyota Motor Corp. that complain of problems with sudden acceleration in vehicles.

     The decision by the seven-member U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation combines the potential class-action lawsuits with at least 50 personal injury cases, all to be considered as one case before Judge James Selna in Santa Ana Federal Court.
     “Centralization will create convenience for the parties and witnesses and will promote the more just and efficient conduct of this litigation,” John G. Heyburn II wrote.
     Toyota with hit with the lawsuits after announcing a recall in September, saying floor mats can trap gas pedals and cause them to stick.
     The Japanese auto maker has since issued nearly 10 million recalls for cars and trucks with gas pedals that stick, and others because of brake problems, The Los Angeles Times reported.
     The federal panel heard arguments last month on whether to consider the cases separately or to lump them together.
     Toyota and most plaintiff attorneys agreed that the matter should be heard in one courtroom.

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