Court finalizes ruling that allows Toyota acceleration suits to proceed

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 14, 2010

The tentative ruling that had allowed the sudden acceleration lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp. to move forward is now final. A federal judge has denied Toyota's bid to junks lawsuits claiming personal injuries or deaths alleged to be a result of incidents of sudden acceleration.

In a ruling posted on the Santa Ana, Calif. court's website, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna said that lawyers for injured customers and families of those killed in accidents have shown sufficient evidence to support their claims and because of this, their cases are permitted to go forward.

Earlier, Selna had rejected Toyota's motion to dismiss class-action, or group, suits that claim economic losses linked to sudden acceleration.

The suits asserted that Toyota failed to disclose or warn of a defect in its vehicles that might result to sudden acceleration. According to court filings, Toyota said that the plaintiffs didn't offer specific allegations of an actual defect and that the carmaker didn't hide anything.

In this 34-page ruling, Selna said that Toyota “demands a level of specificity that is not required at the pleadings stage.” This ruling states that in fact, the defect is identified as plaintiffs have said that the cars “suddenly and unexpectedly accelerate” and fail to stop when the brake pedal is properly applied.

In addition, Selna denied Toyota's motion to throw out the plaintiffs' claim of fraudulent concealment. Selna said that the plaintiffs have satisfactorily pleaded fraud under federal rule of law “to survive a motion to dismiss.” [via autonews - sub. required]

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