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Toyota and plaintiffs’ lawyers battle over discovery limits

Plaintiffs' lawyers want to limit depositions in unintended-acceleration litigation

The litigation following Toyota’s massive vehicle recalls has been a bumpy road.

Now, plaintiffs lawyers representing Toyota vehicle owners who filed unintended-acceleration claims are attempting to steer the Japanese carmaker’s discovery plan in another direction.

The lawyers, who represent economic-loss plaintiffs—or plaintiffs who claim their Toyota vehicles lost value due to safety recalls—say Toyota’s plan to depose 250 plaintiffs through 2013 is unreasonable and should be limited to 50 vehicle owners.

Toyota says the deposition limit would be unfair and would violate due process. U.S. District Judge James Selna will hear of both sides’ arguments on Sept. 12.

According to Tuesday’s court filings, the plaintiffs also want a hearing and ruling on class certification by the end of 2012. They also want an economic-loss bellwether trial to be the second bellwether case, the first of which is a personal-injury case. But Toyota doesn’t want a class certification hearing until January 2013, and it is requesting that the second bellwether case be a product-liability case.

Ashley Post

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