As should be expected by anyone following automotive news, Toyota has been named as a defendant in more than 320 state and federal level law suits as a result of its recent recall troubles. Thus far, 228 suits have been filed in federal court, and 99 in various state courts.
The first of the law suits against the Japanese manufacturer came last fall, when the troubles with unintended acceleration first came to light. Some plaintiffs have also put forth the assertion that Toyota’s electronic throttle control system is to blame, but this has been vehemently denied by Toyota.
Plaintiff claims vary from typical injury and death suits, to breach of warranty, fraud, and even claims of economic injury, as values of certain vehicles fell after the recalls became big news.
A key decision in these case, is the decision as to whether to establish the millions of Toyota owners as a single class, thus effectuating a class-action suit. Toyota has made the claim that those owners who have not experienced malfunction ought to be excluded from such a class.
It is estimated by attorneys that if Toyota were to settle the case against it for even modest amounts, the cost to the company would be at least $3 billion. Toyota has already paid a record setting fine to the NHTSA in the amount of $16.4 million as a result of the 52 fatalities having been connected to Toyota’s acceleration issues.
– By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Detroit News