Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rhino MDL Hearing: 1/29/09

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently considering new standards for Yamaha Motor Corp. USA's Rhino off-road vehicle and other currently unregulated "utility terrain vehicles." The Yamaha Rhino, which was first introduced in 2003 by Yamaha Motor Corp., is a side by side four wheel all-terrain vehicle (ATV), which is a cross between smaller recreational off-road vehicles and larger utility vehicles

Several plaintiffs who have cases are requesting that the 57 Rhino ATV now pending lawsuits be transferred from 33 different U.S. District Courts to one court where they will be coordinated as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation.

We're hearing that at least one Defendant wants to have the cases transferred to the United States District Court in Georgia. My bet is that is where the litigation will end up, at least when it comes to federal court cases.

An MDL is a federal procedure which allows multiple cases with common underlying facts to be consolidated for pretrial litigation in a manner similar to how a Yamaha Rhino class action lawsuit would be managed. However, throughout the litigation the cases remain individual claims, and if the litigation does not settle or otherwise resolve during pretrial proceedings, the cases are returned to the original jurisdiction where they were filed for a jury trial.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will consider the Motion filed by some of the plaintiffs to form a Yamaha Rhino ATV Products Liability MDL at a hearing scheduled for January 29, 2009 at the U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Fort Myers, Florida.