Onewheel Attorneys Appointed as Interim Lead Counsel in Lawsuits Over Electric Skateboard Safety Defects

A federal judge has also ordered parties to select six Onewheel lawsuits to serve as potential early bellwether trials.

The U.S. District Judge recently appointed to preside over all federal Onewheel lawsuits has approved a pair of attorneys to serve in temporary leadership positions, taking actions that benefit all claimants during the early phases of consolidated litigation over safety defects with the controversial electric skateboards, which have caused a number of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries nationwide.

Onewheels are electric skateboards with only one wheel, which can accelerate to speeds of about 20 miles per hour while the rider balances on the supposedly self-righting board. However, following a Onewheel recall issued in late September 2023, a growing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed, each raising nearly identical allegations that design defects caused devastating accidents, when a Onewheel stopped suddenly and nosedived.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in each of the lawsuits, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided last month to consolidate Onewheel accident lawsuits as part of an MDL before U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in the Northern District of California, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

OneWheel Lawsuit

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Lawsuits allege that design defects may cause a OneWheel to nosedive or suddenly stop. Settlements are being pursued for injuries in OneWheel electric skateboard accidents.

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As part of the coordinated management of the litigation, it is expected that Judge Freeman will appoint a large group of OneWheel injury attorneys to serve in leadership positions, charged with conducting discovery into common issues that will be repeated throughout the claims, arguing motions before the court and negotiating potential OneWheel settlements. However, if the litigation can not be resolved early in the pretrial proceedings, it is likely the court will select a group of representative claims for a series of test trials, to help the parties gauge how jurors are likely to respond to expert testimony and evidence likely to be repeated throughout the lawsuits.

Onewheel Attorneys Appointed to Interim Leadership Positions

Last month, attorneys involved in the Onewheel injury lawsuits met with Judge Freeman for the first time, at an initial status conference on January 18, to discuss the organizational structure and plans for moving the growing litigation forward.

In a case management order (PDF) issued on January 22, Judge Freeman appoint two attorneys to serve as interim lead counsel for personal injury and wrongful death cases, while the court considers which lawyers should be appointed to long-term leadership positions in the litigation, including a Plaintiffs Steering Committee to conduct depositions, document review and other discovery.

“The Court will revisit the appointment of lead counsel after it receives and reviews the proposal for the steering committee and other leadership groups at the further case management conference on March 7, 2024,” Judge Freeman wrote.

The case management order also called for parties to reach an agreement on Plaintiff’s Fact Sheets by February 5, which will facilitate the exchange of information about the circumstances of each Onewheel accident and the claimed injuries. The order also calls for each individual plaintiff to complete their Fact Sheet and serve them to the defendants by March 6, 2024.

Six Cases to Be Selected for Onewheel Bellwether Pool

According to Judge Freeman’s order, the Court is planning to select at least six representative personal injury or wrongful death cases for early trial dates in the Onewheel MDL.

The order indicates each side should propose no more than three personal injury or wrongful death Onewheel lawsuits that they believe are representative of the bulk of the cases in litigation by April 10, 2024. The parties have been directed to submit a concise statement if they object to one of the other side’s selections, and advised that each side should be prepared to substitute any selected case if an objection is granted.

Following the MDL proceedings and any bellwether trials, if the parties are unable to reach Onewheel accident settlements or another resolution for the litigation, each claim may be later remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it originated for separate trial dates in the future.

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