The plaintiff’s lawyers smell blood in the water around Toyota. The LAT reports today that 150 different lawyers representing numerous lawsuits got together in San Diego over the weekend to coordinate their efforts. link
I think this quote pretty much says it all about what Toyota faces in terms of class-action and product liability problems:
“We’ve got a wonderful opportunity to fight a multifront war,” said W. Mark Lanier of the Lanier law firm of Houston, flashing on a screen a map suggesting the Allies’ assault on Nazi Germany during World War II.
And even Toyota’s OWN lawyers are jumping into the fray. The Michigan Lawyer’s Blog reports that Toyota’s own former counsel in charge of discovery is suing the company claiming the company hid evidence by destroying engineering and testing results that were relevant to legal cases and settlements.
What is unfortunate is how Toyota really let this get away from them by burying their head in the sand for a long time. There’s not a car company that hasn’t had a serious product defect case, which is part of why we don’t see the Big 4 actively thumbing their noses at Toyota. But Toyota’s competitors are gleeful at seeing Toyota pushed off its pedestal and they are no-doubt working overtime behind the scenes to make sure this story stays in the headlines for months and years. They would be stupid not to. The litigation will give wonderful news hooks for years to come.