A federal judge in Santa Ana, California said today in a tentative ruling that he will be rejecting most of Toyota’s first challenge to class-action suits filed over sudden acceleration issues. Toyota’s main arguments were that specific dollar losses were not stated by many plaintiffs, and that a significant number of plaintiffs never experienced malfunction, but were suing on the basis of potential resale value losses.
Judge James V. Selina said that at this stage of the suit, specific damage figures are not required, just the claim that upon discovery those figures can be furnished. Toyota attorney Cari Dawson argued in her pleading that those who have not suffered any malfunction had received cars that were ‘produced as promised’ and not subject to speculative losses. “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,” she said.
Toyota is not worried however. “Today’s hearing did not address the merits of plaintiffs allegations and did not consider any evidence,” the automaker said in a statement. “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.”
– By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)