Toyota can finally get access to plaintiffs’ insurance, financial data

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 18, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. can finally get access to insurance and financial data of the plaintiffs who have sued it for economic losses they incurred related to sudden acceleration accidents.

Toyota won the judicial ruling as two private judges in Orange, Calif. denied a request by lawyers of about 81 plaintiffs who owned or leased Toyota vehicles to prevent the automaker from acquiring their information from banks, other lending institutions and insurance companies.

John K. Trotter is one of the private judges assisting U.S. District Judge James Selna, of Santa Ana, Calif., to resolve the disputes between Toyota and these plaintiffs. Trotter said that he didn’t find anything wrong with the subpoenas.

These cases come from throughout the nation and even those from other countries were coordinated before Selna. These claims also include wrongful death and personal injury from sudden acceleration incidents.

Trotter said that Toyota has already collected most of the information. He also said that the privacy concerns are covered by a protective order by Selna that assures the confidentiality of certain information.

Todd B. Benoff, an attorney for Toyota, argued in front of the judges that the plaintiffs weren’t quick to file their motion to quash the subpoenas. He also asserted that Toyota needs the data for its defense for a series of trials that are set to start early in 2013.

Benoff said that the carmaker is entitled to information on the cars’ value since the plaintiffs have been saying that their case is “all about the value of their cars.” Court filings also indicate that plaintiffs' lawyers countered that the data Toyota had gathered is "highly personal and irrelevant financial information.”

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