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A federal judge has given Toyota Motor Corp. the green light to appeal his refusal to dismiss the sudden acceleration claims brought on behalf of consumers nationwide. U.S. District Judge James Selna, who is hearing the multidistrict litigation against Toyota in Santa Ana, Calif., had ruled on May 13 that claims for economic damages could go ahead based on the injuries alleged–in particular, that the plaintiffs relied on advertising promoting the safety of Toyota’s vehicles. The cases have been coordinated as a single consolidated complaint in the MDL. Toyota petitioned Selna to certify for interlocutory appeal the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue if they had not experienced a defect, whether monetary or in property damages to their cars, most of which never experienced the acceleration defect, according to Toyota’s June 27 court filing. Toyota subsequently brought in noted appellate specialist Theodore Boutrous of Los Angeles-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to handle its appeal. In a July 19 order, Selna certified the issue for appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. “Specifically, the Court focuses on the issue of whether each plaintiff must allege that he or she has experienced a manifestation of the product’s alleged defect in order to allege that he or she suffered an injury in fact” so as to have standing to sue, he wrote. Plaintiffs’ attorneys, in a July 12 opposition filing, argued against Toyota’s move to appeal. “Here, all Plaintiffs allege that they were personally exposed to advertisements that emphasized safety, explain that those advertisements motivated them to purchase their vehicles, and allege that they would not have purchased their vehicles or paid as much for them had they known the truth about the defects,” wrote Steve Berman, managing partner of Seattle’s Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, co-lead counsel of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the economic loss cases. Berman has said he expects the 9th Circuit to uphold Selna’s original ruling. The issue under appeal concerns only the 200 consumer claims. The MDL contains an additional 100 lawsuits alleging damages for personal injuries and wrongful deaths tied to accidents attributed to sudden acceleration. The next hearing in the MDL is scheduled for Aug. 15. Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected] .

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