David Boies, the litigator who lost the U.S. Supreme Court fight over the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election and later helped win legalization of gay marriage in California, was chosen for a lead role in consumer complaints against air-bag maker Takata Corp.
Boies and three other lawyers will oversee the dozens of lawsuits consolidated in Miami against Tokyo-based Takata and carmakers that used the company’s air bags. The lawyers will lead courtroom battles for access to company records and executives, or will hammer out settlements if the companies want to avoid a trial.
The chairman of New York-based Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP currently represents ex-American International Group Inc. Chairman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg in a lawsuit against the federal government over the U.S. bailout of the insurer in 2008. He also has sued Microsoft Corp. on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department, and he represented the ex-wife of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in their divorce.
In the Takata cases, Boies will be in charge of the class- action claims by motorists who allege their vehicles lost value because of air-bag recalls, together with Todd A. Smith of Power Rogers & Smith PC in Chicago. Two Florida lawyers will oversee the consolidated personal injury lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno on Tuesday scheduled the first trial for March and April of next year.
The lawsuits were spurred by a series of recalls of vehicles equipped with Takata air bags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said Takata’s air-bag inflators may malfunction if exposed to consistently high humidity by deploying with too much force, shooting metal pieces into drivers and passengers.
Takata is facing dozens of proposed class actions in the U.S. by customers claiming losses in vehicle value. Honda Motor Co. is named in most of them. Other defendants named in multiple suits include Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., BMW and General Motors Co.
The case is In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2599, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).
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