Toyota Motor Corp. is set for final approval of a settlement, valued at as much as $1.63 billion by plaintiff lawyers, with U.S. consumers who claimed that recalls related to sudden, unintended acceleration caused their vehicles to lose value.
U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, California, posted a tentative decision approving the accord yesterday on the court’s website. A hearing on final approval is scheduled for today. The judge in June delayed a decision on approving the accord until he received further documentation how the money would be distributed.
“The additional briefing and evidence reinforces the court’s initial tentative conclusion that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable,” Selna said in yesterday’s tentative decision.
The settlement resolves economic-loss allegations brought by Toyota drivers following the recall of more than 10 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 for problems related to possible unintended acceleration, including sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats that could shift out of position.
Toyota, based in Toyota City, Japan, said in December it would take a one-time $1.1 billion charge to cover the costs of the settlement.
The settlement includes $757 million in cash payments, including $227 million in attorneys’ fees and costs, and $875 million in non-monetary benefits, including free installation of a brake-override system for eligible vehicles, according to the plaintiff lawyers’ April 23 request for final approval.
Toyota still faces personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits based on allegations its vehicles caused accidents through unintended acceleration. A trial is scheduled in Los Angeles this month on claims by the widower and son of a 66-year old woman whose Toyota Camry crashed into a tree in 2009.
The economic-loss cases are combined as In re Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, 8:10-ml-02151, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).
(With assistance from Margaret Cronin Fisk in Detroit. Editors: Peter Blumberg, Stephen Farr)
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.