US District Judge James Selna said that Toyota has up to 30 days from the date of the federal court ruling to turn over the documents demanded by class-action lawyers from old investigations over complaints of runaway cars. Last month, scores of personal injury and class-action consumer claims filed in federal court against Toyota were consolidated.
This is the first courtroom clash related to these suits that Toyota has had to participate in since then. Toyota faces potential civil liability calculated at over $10 billion as it attempts to overcome the safety crisis that has damaged its reputation.
Over 8 million Toyota vehicles throughout the globe have been recalled to fix ill-fitting floor mats and sticking gas pedals. Many of the lawsuits claim that some of the acceleration problems originate from an unidentified electronic glitch. Toyota continues to deny this.
From reviewing the internal documents, two key US lawmakers have gotten the impression that Toyota "consistently dismissed the possibility" of electronic failures for years without thoroughly examining the issue.
What plaintiffs' attorneys were asking for is to possess about 125,000 pages of internal documents already submitted to congressional panels and auto safety regulators.