U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., has granted Toyota Motor Corp.’s request to dismiss lawsuits filed by a group of 41 plaintiffs from 13 countries against the automaker related to sudden unintended acceleration claims.
Specifically, the plaintiffs had sought permission in a U.S. court to sue Toyota for claims that the value of their cars had diminished due to the flaw, which made the automaker recall millions of its vehicles. Judge Selna ruled that he lacks jurisdiction on the claims of the plaintiffs, who came from countries in Central America, Asia and Australia.
He also said that they had not shown sufficient evidence that they should join the U.S. litigation. In 2009 and in 2010, Toyota recalled more than a million of its U.S. vehicles due to sudden unintended acceleration, among other reasons.
The company expended $48.8 million in fines related to the recalls. The company is also recalling around 2.17 million U.S. cars for flaws related to floor-mat and carpet, where gas pedals could get stuck.
Last April, Judge Selna consolidated U.S. lawsuits against the automaker over claims on personal injury, wrongful death or economic loss, and sought to have the schedule for the trial of the first cases in early 2013.
Representing for the foreign complainants, Attorney Monica Kelly stated that more plaintiffs from other countries could have joined the U.S. litigation if the judge has not granted Toyota’s request.
She also added that the complainants could have the opportunity to engage in the gathering of pre-trial evidence, including gaining access to the automaker’s confidential source code of its electronics as well as questioning the company’s executive officers.