Sunday, December 15, 2013

Toyota in negotiations, to pay for sudden acceleration lawsuits

Toyota in negotiations, to pay for sudden acceleration lawsuits
Toyota Motor Corp. opened talks to hundreds of State and federal lawsuits claim that defects caused its vehicles to accelerate suddenly and settle what serious crash, injuries and deaths.

Decision, giving the courts called an "intense settlement process" could bring closure, plaintiff, the world's largest automaker were fighting since 2009 have and which already spent Toyota, more than 2 billion $ in court costs and his public reputation suffered damage.

The automakers have a further incentive to end his long legal test: lost first process in case sudden acceleration as an Oklahoma jury found that defective electronics on a Camry caused an accident, killed one woman and seriously injured another. The jury assessed a $3 million judgment against Toyota.

"The turning point must have been this loss in Oklahoma," said Byron Stier, Professor at Southwestern Law School. "It was such a shock. The people thought sudden acceleration was a dead issue, but the judgment changed everything."

The Japanese automaker has repeatedly denied that its vehicles instead the incidents of driver error fault were flawed. It sudden acceleration, had three straight trials, involving him gained confidence in his attitude.

But it has more than 300 lawsuits in federal and national courts nationwide, of which Ana and the State cases in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Southern California, have been consolidated with the federal cases in a U.S. District Court in Santa.

The two judges who ordered treating cases that Toyota had agreed to start the intensive consolidation late Thursday. They remained in their courtrooms all pending cases until the conclusion of the negotiations.

Toyota launches conferences on a case by case basis under the judicial settlement command in February. If a deal cannot be reached, go, and when even the suits before a mediator could be returned after testing always unresolved.

"This process bring more efficiency to the resolution of pending cases and results in a clear way forward for those claims that can not be resolved outside the study," said Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner. The automaker declined further comment.

It is unclear how long it might take to complete the settlement in the consolidated cases, but lawyers of the plaintiffs said it was sure that most, if not in all cases without trial would be solved.

"This is a positive step," said Moses Lebovits, co-lead counsel in the consolidated cases of California. "We have worked very hard, and we are pleased that we to a meaningful conclusion to get."

Toyota will also try to solve a handful of pending state that were not consolidated. Some are scheduled for trial early next year.

The decision, the negotiations could also help, which car manufacturer more surprises, to avoid 24 judgment in Oklahoma, such as for example the Oct. that find that it acted with regard to "ruthlessly" for the safety of his customers.

The Oklahoma case was that that the electronic throttle control system in Toyota vehicles was defective, a strategy, the other plaintiffs said first, who claim that they planned to pursue the pending tests.

"I really think that the evidence in this case was very, very strong", said Cole Portis, one of the lawyers of the plaintiff in the case. "To defend the computer system on the cars was going to be very difficult to do. There were still more great judgments."

One of the following cases is for test Feb. 19 in a Michigan State Court scheduled. It's the same model as in the case of Oklahoma. The driver, Guadalupe Alberto, crashed her Camry 2005 into a tree and died after the car suddenly accelerated.

Eric Snyder, lawyer for Alberto family, cheered the news of potential settlements in the Federal Republic and California cases, but to say whether he was in negotiations with Toyota and was rejected.

Toyota has held a series of high-profile sudden acceleration cases. Late last year agreed to pay $1.6 billion to a class-action lawsuit to solve case filed by Toyota and Lexus owners who claims, the issue reduces the value of their vehicles.

In addition, the automaker paid $10 million end of 2010 a suit with California Highway Strip Polizist, together with his family in a fiery 2009 crash harrowing detail in a 911 recording captured late pay.

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