W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, will serve as a leader in multi-district litigation against Toyota involving claims of sudden unintended acceleration

MONTGOMERY, ALA. (May 14, 2010)  – United States District Judge James V. Selna today appointed W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, head of the Consumer Fraud section for Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, P.C., to the Liaison Committee for personal injury/wrongful death cases in litigation against Toyota. April 9, 2010, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation selected the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to hear litigation surrounding Toyota sudden unintended acceleration (SUA). Lawsuits include both individual personal injury claims and consumer class actions filed on behalf of Toyota owners who claim the value of their vehicles has been negatively affected by Toyota’s SUA problems.

Miles was selected from a pool of more than 100 lawyers and law firms to help lead the Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration litigation for the entire world. Those appointed to the committee will be in charge of directing this litigation for the entire country, as well as some foreign countries that may be involved in the suit. Lawyers appointed to this litigation will have the job of gathering documents, questioning witnesses, arguing the legal issues and preparing the case for trial and possibly settlement. This is a very important appointment and one that will direct how this enormous litigation is handled.

“It is a great honor to have been selected and appointed by the court to lead this litigation, but it is also a tremendous challenge and responsibility for any lawyer and law firm,” Miles said. “We asked the court for this challenge and we accept our appointment with full appreciation of its importance to the families of the deceased victims, consumers and businesses who have suffered as a result of these alleged automotive defects in Toyota products.”

Appointment to the Toyota MDL (case 8:10-ml-02151-JVS-FMO) puts Beasley Allen in a leadership role in this important litigation. Nearly 200 lawsuits related to Toyota sudden unintended acceleration have been filed in federal and state courts throughout the country. The court structured the plaintiffs’ counsel for the litigation to include a liaison committee for personal injury/wrongful death cases; a lead counsel committee for the economic loss cases; a core discovery committee consisting of the co-lead liaison counsel for the personal injury/wrongful death cases and the co-lead counsel for the economic loss plaintiffs; three liaison counsel to the state cases on other types of federal cases; and one or more counsel who shall have specific duties limited to a particular factual or legal area. Despite the committee breakdown for trial purposes, the litigation is a united effort, with all liaison and lead counsel working jointly to obtain discover y for all cases.

Beasley Allen has taken an active role in investigating Toyota SUA. Miles has filed a total of six consumer class actions in four states to date – Alabama, California, Florida and Georgia. Beasley Allen attorney Graham Esdale also has filed two wrongful death cases involving Toyota SUA, in state courts in Alabama and Oklahoma. Beasley Allen attorneys attended Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill in February as government leaders examined the automaker’s response to the safety threat posed by its vehicles.

Toyota’s U.S. Headquarters is located in Torrance, Calif. More than 8 million Toyota vehicles have been recalled worldwide for sudden unintended acceleration problems. Toyota has blamed the problems both on defective or improperly installed floor mats, and sticky accelerator pedals. Toyota also has recalled vehicles for problems with the anti-lock brakes.

Read the Order of Appointment.

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