U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, California, ruled that Toyota Motor Corp. must face class-action lawsuits filed by car owners who claim economic losses. Toyota had recalled more than 8 million vehicles related to sudden acceleration problems.
Selna says the car owners' lawyers provided enough evidence to allow their cases to go forward, making final a tentative ruling issued on Nov. 19, 2010. Toyota moved to dismiss the suits, citing that the plaintiffs failed to plead specific losses or identify an actual defect.
The economic-loss actions were combined for pretrial filings and rulings before Selna. The suits allege that Toyota drove down the value of vehicles by failing to fix or disclose defects that triggered unintended acceleration.
In Selna's recent ruling, he says that it is true that plaintiffs do not generally allege the precise dollar value of their losses, but that level of specificity is not required at the pleadings state.
Federal court actions that claim injury or death caused by such instances are also combined in the Santa Ana court. In September 2009, Toyota announced a recall of 3.8 million Lexus and Toyota vehicles, saying floor mats could jam accelerator pedals.
The Toyota City, Japan-based firm later recalled vehicles over the pedals themselves. [via autonews - sub. required]