Toyota Prius Cases: From New Mexico to California

Attorneys on both sides of new Toyota litigation arising from the injuries and deaths allegedly caused by defects in the design of the Toyota Prius have petitioned a single California district court to assume jurisdiction over hundreds of lawsuits pending across the nation. The system under which this consolidation would occur for cases such as Toyota Prius Litigation, called “Multidistrict Litigation” or MDL, helps conserve the resources of the judiciary and the parties involved in the lawsuit, by unifying the process by which all sides conduct trial preparation. After this trial preparation, or discovery, is completed, the case returns to the original jurisdiction for trial, if necessary. Thus, a person who was injured in a Prius in New Mexico would file his or her case in the District of New Mexico; it would then be transferred to whatever federal district was assigned the MDL and returned to New Mexico for trial. Because of the large number of plaintiffs who are affected, MDL most often occurs in product liability cases and environmental and toxic torts.