Toyota won tentative dismissal of several acceleration claims

Article by Andrew Christian, on April 24, 2012

Several claims of Toyota vehicle owners, who alleged that the value of their units dropped due to the massive recalls for unintentional acceleration, were dismissed. The tentative order was given by U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., who agreed with Toyota that the claims can’t be brought under the states’ laws by the New York and Florida class representatives in the consolidated lawsuits if they didn't allege that their cars experienced sudden, unintended acceleration.

The judge also ruled against Toyota and asserted that New York law didn't preclude a plaintiff’s claims that she traded in her Prius for a lower amount due to the alleged defect even if she didn't claim that her car demonstrated the defect.

Selna will make a final ruling on Toyota's request to junk the claims after its April 23 hearing.

Selna said that it would be likely that the highest court of the state New York would find actionable the claims of a “plaintiff who realizes a measurable loss on the resale or trade-in of a vehicle with an unmanifested defect that may be fairly attributed to that defect."

According further to the judge's tentative ruling, the issue of whether New York and Florida law permitted claims for "unmanifested" defects is a separate question from whether plaintiffs who didn’t experience sudden, unintended acceleration problems with their vehicles had the right to sue.

Last year, Selna said that Toyota owners were in a legal position to sue for alleged economic losses and then permitted Toyota to challenge his decision with the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco. [source: Bloomberg]

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