Toyota Sudden Acceleration Lawsuits Consolidated

A variety of lawsuits against the world’s largest auto maker—Toyota Motor Corporation—are being consolidated in Los Angeles County, said Business Week. The 40 cases, which are all focused on allegations of sudden acceleration, are pending in a California state court, added Business Week. The case is Toyota Motor Cases, JCCP4621, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

The cases have been ordered coordinated before one judge located in Los Angeles after California Chief Justice Ronald M. George—in a June 8 order—asked the presiding judge from the court in Los Angeles to assign the 40 cases, said Business Week. Chief Justice George explained that it will be the coordinating trial judge’s responsibility to determine if cases seeking personal injury or wrongful death damages are to be handled separately from class-action lawsuits alleging financial loss, explained Business Week.

As of today, Toyota is looking at over 300 lawsuits in both state and federal Court over issues of alleged and sudden vehicle acceleration, reported Reuters. A class-action suit, brought by the Orange County District Attorney, is one of the California state court cases, wrote Reuters. Also included in the California state court cases is the lawsuit brought by the family of a state highway patrol officer who was killed in a crash in which sudden acceleration problems were alleged. In that case, the officer, his wife, his young daughter, and another family member perished in a tragedy that included a 911 call that recorded the family’s desperate pleas and final prayers and moments.

Toyota, has been plagued with problems involving sticky pedals and defective floor mats, has issued several recalls and been the subject of probes, an historic federal fine, and a Congressional investigation. Recently, we wrote that compounding the ongoing, headline-making news the auto giant has been facing, the world’s largest automaker has been accused of deception, this time by Democratic lawmakers. According to FreeP, the beleaguered automaker was accused of misleading the public and allowing legal worries to overshadow resolutions to problems with sudden acceleration in some of its vehicles.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, run by U.S. Representative Bart Stupak (Democrat-Menominee) faulted Toyota for how it handled its “damage control” and that its collaboration with Exponent—an engineering firm located in California—did not provide sufficient proof that the sudden acceleration issue was thoroughly investigated, said FreeP previously. “We don’t know whether electronics plays a role in sudden unintended acceleration and Toyota doesn’t either,” Stupak said. Exponent is the external engineering firm working with Toyota on determining the cause of the thousands of sudden acceleration problems.

Toyota maintains that it has been conducting a continuous probe, that it will publicize the results, and that it has repaired over 3.5 million vehicles, to date, said FreeP previously.

According to U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (Democrat-California) when investigators spoke with Exponent, asking for its copies of the work conducted on the Toyota investigation, Exponent said that it had “little to no documents on its Toyota experiments,” said FreeP. “Toyota has repeatedly told the public that it has conducted extensive testing of its vehicles for electronic defects…. We can find no basis for these assertions. Toyota’s assertions may be good public relations, but they don’t appear to be true,” said Waxman, quoted FreeP.

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