Friday, December 28, 2012

Toyota Reaches Settlement in Faulty Acceleration Cases

Toyota agrees to pay $1.1 billion to settle lawsuit involving faulty acceleration in vehicles.

The Wall Street Journal (12/27, Ramsey, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) reports that Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay about $1.1 billion in a settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving complaints regarding problems with its vehicles' accelerators. As the Journal describes, Toyota had received a number of complaints that its vehicles accelerated when the driver did not intend to move faster, and this affair has harmed the company's reputation and sales. The article recounts that Toyota went through several recalls of vehicles in 2009/2010 and endured negative public scrutiny, including congressional hearings.
        The AP (12/27, Risling) reports that Toyota has said that "the deal will resolve hundreds of lawsuits from Toyota owners who said the value of their cars and trucks plummeted after a series of recalls stemming from claims that Toyota vehicles accelerated unintentionally." The AP quotes Steve Berman, a lawyer representing owners of Toyota vehicles, as saying, "We kept fighting and fighting and we secured what we think was a good settlement given the risks of this litigation." As the piece notes, "hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Toyota since 2009, when the Japanese automaker started receiving numerous complaints that its cars accelerated on their own, causing crashes, injuries and even deaths."
        Reuters (12/27, Seetharaman, Woodall) notes that a plaintiff memo indicated that the deal in the Toyota case amounts to a landmark settlement in automobile-defect class-action litigation in the US. The settlement must still be approved by a California Federal judge.
        The Detroit Free Press (12/27, Snavely, 280K) notes that "Toyota said it plans to retrofit additional models with a free brake-override system to provide an added measure of confidence that its vehicles can be stopped if they accelerate unexpectedly." The company also agreed to "pay another $250 million to reimburse owners whose vehicles cannot be retrofitted with the brake-override system."
        The Recorder (12/27, Blum) also covers this stor

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