Four Loyola Law School alumni are poised to play pivotal roles in the impending litigation involving economic-loss, personal-injury and wrongful-death claims from reported instances of unintended acceleration in certain Toyota cars. On the defense side, Toyota recently hired Tom Nolan '75 to serve as lead counsel in economic-loss cases. Arguing on behalf of the consumers will be three alumni: Tom Girardi '64, Tony Rackauckas '71 and Mark P. Robinson, Jr. '71. Nolan, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, will help navigate the economic-loss cases in federal and state court. He represented MGA Entertainment in its high-profile litigation with Mattel over copyright infringement in the Bratz line of dolls. MGA was ultimately awarded $309 million in damages and fees. Nolan's economic-loss case in front of Los Angele County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr is set to begin in September 2012. Loyola's Civil Justice Program honored Nolan as a Champion of Justice in 2007.
Robinson, a partner with Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. in Newport Beach, CA, was named a co-lead plaintiffs' counsel in the portion of the class-action case accusing the carmaker of negligence causing wrongful death and injuries when U.S. District Judge James Selna consolidated claims in May 2010. Robinson is no stranger to auto-defect litigation. He litigated the landmark 1978 Ford Pinto fire case that ushered in the modern era of auto-defect litigation. "The time has now come to focus on the victims, the people who have experienced sudden unintended litigation," Robinson told the Associated Press.
Rackaukas, who has been the Orange County district attorney since 1998, has pursued consumer causes against large corporations as the county's top prosecutor. Early in his career, he prosecuted large oil companies for contaminating drinking water. "The job of the D.A., in my view, is to do everything that I can to enhance the safety of the community and enhance the community's feeling that they're as safe as we can help them be," he has said. Girard, of Girardi | Keese, has litigating a wide variety of product-liability cases. He obtained a $4.85 billion settlement in litigation against Merck pharmaceutical company for personal injuries suffered by consumers who used Vioxx medication. Loyola's Civil Justice Program honored Girardi as a Champion of Justice in 2005 and bestowed the same honor on Robinson in 2007.