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The Toyota Suits Accelerate; Will the MDL Land in Los Angeles?

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  • The Toyota Suits Accelerate; Will the MDL Land in Los Angeles?

    So where are we with the Toyota situation? When last we checked in (here, here), the lawsuits seemed to be progressing on two tracks: the personal injury track and the consumer-fraud track. The latter involves far more potential plaintiffs; the former, though far fewer in number, involves horrific tales of people allegedly being taken over by their cars.

    Recent stories in Bloomberg and the National Law Journal provide the grist for our latest update, which will focus most closely on the consumer-fraud side. According to Bloomberg, Toyota faces at least 29 lawsuits filed on behalf of customers in the U.S. and Canada seeking a range of damages — from loss of cars’ value to a return of profits.

    The class-action suits, in U.S. state and federal courts and Canadian provinces, demand compensation for flaws. Plaintiffs are asking for “restitution and disgorgement” of profits and punitive damages, as well as reimbursements for any costs incurred by Toyota owners.

    Eventually, predicts Bloomberg, the U.S. suits will be combined before one federal judge for pretrial evidence-gathering and rulings, as is often the case in big product-liability cases. The cases probably will be combined in a federal court in Los Angeles near Toyota’s U.S. sales headquarters in Torrance.

    But, writes the NLJ, the company also faces at least 10 lawsuits brought by individuals claiming deaths or injuries caused by uncontrollable acceleration of vehicles. On Monday, a Houston man filed a $200 million action on behalf of his wife who died on Dec. 18 after her 2009 Corolla “suddenly accelerated uncontrollably at a high rate of speed” and crashed into the cement embankment of a toll road, according to a complaint filed in state court in Harris County, Texas.

    As of Wednesday, reports the NLJ, there was no word whether litigation lay in store over Toyota’s latest headache: reports of brake problems in its Prius hybrid vehicle.

    In any event, it all bodes deep trouble for Toyota. After Audi suffered similar problems in the 1980s, it saw its domestic sales fall by more than 80 percent through the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Bloomberg says. Sales didn’t return to the early 1980s level until 2000, and a class action case related to the bad gas pedals is pending to this day.

  • #2
    Re: The Toyota Suits Accelerate; Will the MDL Land in Los Angeles?

    Prius is next I am sure.


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