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Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & BernsteinElizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein is navigating a novel path toward resolving scores of personal injury and wrongful-death claims against Toyota Motor Corp.

Last year, the firm and co-lead plaintiffs counsel Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, along with Toyota’s attorneys and lawyers for hundreds of plaintiffs nationwide, engaged in an intensive settlement process to conclude agreements in cases arising from Toyota’s unintended-acceleration defect. They reached individual settlements in 145 of 246 federal and state suits, consolidated mostly in California. Lieff Cabraser intends to use the streamlined approach to settle the rest this year.

“I think it can be a model for certain cases,” said name partner Elizabeth Cabraser, who, along with Toyota counsel and Reed Smith partner John Hooper, drove the effort. The secret was keeping the settlement awards confidential, eliminating the chase for “bragging rights,” she said. Special master and Louisiana lawyer Patrick Juneau pronounced the effort “extremely successful” so far.

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