Toyota Motor Corp. suffered a setback as a federal judge made a tentative ruling that says that he will scrap most of the carmaker’s first major legal challenge to class-action lawsuits related to sudden acceleration.
US District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., said that the lawyers of the car owners have given sufficient evidence to allow their cases to proceed.
This 63-page tentative ruling, which was posted on his court's Web site, says that even if the complainants have not indicated a precise dollar value for their losses, it is actually not required at this pleading stage.
Selna added that it is enough that they claim to have a “tangible loss that can be proved or disproved upon discovery.”
Selna recently held a hearing for Toyota’s motion to dismiss class-action, or group, lawsuits claiming economic loss related to sudden acceleration. Selna said that he would issue the final ruling by Nov. 25.
According to the economic-loss lawsuits (which were combined for pretrial filings and rulings before Selna), Toyota had driven the value of vehicles down due to its failure to repair or reveal defects that led to unintended acceleration.
The Santa Ana court also combined federal suits claiming death or injury as a result of such incidents. In the past year, Toyota has recalled more than 15.43 million vehicles throughout the world for many types of problems, 10.2 million units of which were for unintended acceleration issues. [via autonews - sub. required]