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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Robinson, Aitken Make Judge Selna’s Cut; Lawler Goes Fishing

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Call it historic, call it exciting or call it unseemly: Orange County has become the center of the trial lawyers’ universe now that the 200-plus federal lawsuits generated by suddenly accelerating Toyotas have been assigned to U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, not far from Toyota Motor’s U.S. base in Torrance. The cases are a potential multibillion-dollar liability for the Japanese automaker, a pot estimated as high as several hundred million dollars for lawyers and, according to one of the litigators, Wylie Aitken, a chance for OC “to rise above the L.A. clutter” in the eyes of the legal world. Aitken, of Santa Ana’s Aitken Aitken Cohn, says he’s thinking about putting together a restaurant guide for the many out-of-town professionals who’ll be spending time here in the coming months. (Wylie, contact Fifi.) Selna recently thinned the nationwide herd of nearly 70 plaintiff lawyers who descended on his courtroom seeking a piece of the action, assigning 21 to various aspects of the case. A big winner was Mark Robinson of Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson in Newport Beach, picked as one of two co-lead counsels for the wrongful death and other personal injury cases. Aitken received a less glamorous (and presumably less billable) assignment coordinating the team’s efforts with various state lawsuits against Toyota. But Aitken says that’s not his only involvement: He’s also partnering with Bay Area lawyer Frank Pitre, one of the three co-lead counsels for the “economic” claims of consumers and independent dealers. How will all of these lawyers divvy up their fees? “It’s not clear,” Aitken says, adding that ultimately Selna will decide …

Drew Lawler, prez of Pacific Coast Sportfishing Magazine in Newport Beach, says, “Orange County has a thriving fishing industry that rarely gets any business ink, despite that fact that many fishing manufacturing companies are based here.” OK, here’s some ink from the Insider: Lawler is staging The Festival, a saltwater fishing trade show, June 11 and 12 at the OC Fair & Event Center. Famous anglers will be on hand, with entertainment from Jim Fuller and the Surfaris of the 1963 hit, “Wipe Out” …

FivePoint Communities’ Emile Haddad, point man for private development at the Great Park, talks about housing trends with KB Home’s Steve Ruffner and the OC Register’s Jon Lansner at an OC Forum luncheon Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Irvine …

This week on “Inside OC”: U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, City National Bank chief Russell Goldsmith, Chapman U economist Essie Adibi …

They’re engaged: Lawyer and former Irvine councilman Chris Mears and Soka U administrator Michelle Hobby. OCBJ graphic artist Brette Miller and aspiring aviation technician Jason Martin …

Break up the Panthers: Chapman U publicist Mary Platt trumpets that for the second straight year the university “defeats rivals USC, UCLA, UCI and others” in a (drum roll) student advertising-campaign competition.

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