Toyota agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over headlights in Prius hybrids

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 21, 2011

In a recent filing in a Los Angeles federal court, Toyota Motor Corporation sought the dismissal of a securities-fraud lawsuit by investors who claim the automaker misled them by not disclosing acceleration-related defects that it allegedly knew about.

Toyota said that the shareholders' case fails to state a claim under U.S. securities law. The company said plaintiffs’ “misleading” statements are puffery or “highly generalized statements about the quality and safety of Toyota vehicles” that securities markets don’t rely on.

Toyota said the class action is the plaintiffs’ attempt to “mutate” product liability, consumer and automotive industry regulatory claims into securities fraud.

Toyota added that similar to the other allegedly false and misleading statements cited by the investors, the complaint does not identify the people who made them and does not cite any facts to support that those people knew the statements were false or misleading, as is required under U.S. securities law.

In their Oct. 4, 2010 consolidated complaint, the shareholders, led by the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, said that internal documents show the Toyota City, Japan-based company intentionally hid unintended sudden acceleration problems in the U.S.

The plaintiffs said Toyota was aware about the defects as early as 2000 and in an effort to avoid vehicle recalls, the company “stonewalled” regulators. [via latimes]

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