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Judge Says Toyota Unintended Acceleration Cases Won't be Dropped

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On: Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 10:16AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Judge Says Toyota Unintended Acceleration Cases Won't be Dropped

According to a Santa Ana federal judge’s tentative ruling, the class action lawsuit pertaining to unintended acceleration cases against Toyota Motor Corporation will not be dropped, as requested by the Japanese Auto Company. Attorneys for Toyota presented a motion to dismiss the class action suit regarding Toyota owners’ claims of economic loss related to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Judge James V. Slena, a U.S. district court judge, wrote in his 63-page ruling: “It is true that plaintiffs do not generally allege the precise dollar value of their losses, but that level of specificity is not required at this pleading stage,” Selna also commented; “It is enough that they allege a tangible loss that can be proved or disproved upon discovery.”  A final ruling is expected to be released by Selna by November 25th.

The lawsuit, in its pre-trial filing status before Judge Selna, is a claim by Toyota owners stating that Toyota indirectly reduced the value of Toyota vehicles by withholding information that would lead to discovery of defects which caused unintended acceleration. Such disclosure would have subsequently led to repairing Toyota vehicles in a more timely manner.

Other federal suits pertaining to death or injury in connection with Toyota recalls are also on file at the Santa Ana court.

Over 15 million Toyota vehicles were recalled for various problems including unintended acceleration. Consumer complaints in pending court cases have cited faulty electronic throttle control in 52 accidents and over 60 deaths since 2000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Safety investigators report as many as 100 deaths associated with Toyota vehicles since the recall began.

Cari Dawson, a Toyota attorney, argued in court that the Toyota vehicles in question “produced as promised.” Dawson went on to say, “These cars have not malfunctioned, their owners have not had to pay any money for repairs or retrofit, and they have not suffered any loss. Dawson also stated: “Economic loss can’t be speculative, based on losses owners may never suffer if they don’t see their cars or if market conditions change.

According to Toyota, the hearing was not a seen as a loss, but rather that the “burden of proof” is placed on the plaintiff attorneys. Toyota stated:“Today's hearing did not address the merits of plaintiffs allegations and did not consider any evidence. The court requires a basic assumption that the plaintiffs' allegations are true, even though they are unproven. The burden is now squarely on plaintiffs' counsel to prove their allegations, and Toyota is confident that no such proof exists.”

Toyota has maintained all along that the company feels there is no evidence of electronic defects in any of the vehicles (over 4,000) that were examined by Toyota and federal safety regulators. Without evidence of any defective components, the automaker feels the plaintiffs’ complaints will be difficult to prove.


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