California court allows unintended acceleration suits against Toyota to proceed

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 10, 2010

In a tentative ruling by the Santa Ana, Calif. court, Toyota Motor Corp.’s motion to junk sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) lawsuits was rejected, allowing their cases to go forward. The suits claim that deaths and personal injuries were caused by unintended sudden acceleration of its vehicles.

U.S. District Judge James V. Selna said that lawyers for injured customers and families of those killed in accidents have given sufficient evidence. Earlier, Selna rejected Toyota’s bid to junk class-action, or group suits that claim economic losses because of sudden acceleration.

The suits accuse Toyota of failing to disclose or warn of a defect in its vehicles that result to sudden acceleration.

In court filings, Toyota asserted that the plaintiffs didn’t specifically cite an actual defect and that the carmaker has not hidden anything. In his tentative order, Selna stated that Toyota “demands a level of specificity that is not required at the pleadings stage.”

The judge mentioned that the defect has been identified: “plaintiffs’ cars suddenly and unexpectedly accelerate and do not stop upon proper application of the brake pedal.”

Selna asserted that he won’t dismiss fraud claims against Toyota that are linked to SUA. He wrote that instead of informing customers about the defects, Toyota “often blamed” them. [via autonews - sub. required]

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