United States District Judge James V. Selna has issued a tentative decision approving a settlement between Toyota Motor Corp. with US consumers who claimed that recalls related to sudden, unintended acceleration caused their vehicles to depreciate. Judge Selna posted the tentative decision Thursday on the court's Web site, with a hearing on final approval of the settlement set for Friday.
Last month, Selna postponed a decision on approving the agreement until he receive further documentation on how the settlement money would be distributed.
Plaintiff lawyers expect the settlement to reach up to $1.63 billion. Selna said in the tentative decision that the additional briefing and evidence reinforced the court's initial tentative conclusion that the “proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable."
The settlement will resolve economic-loss claims brought by owners of Toyota vehicles following the global recall of over 10 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010 due to issues related to possible unintended acceleration.
Toyota said in December 2013 that it would take a one-time $1.1 billion charge to cover the settlement costs.
According to the plaintiff lawyers' April 23, 2013, request for final approval, the settlement entails $757 million in cash payments (including $227 million in attorneys' fees and costs) and $875 million in non-monetary benefits (including free installation of a brake-override system for eligible vehicles). Toyota is still facing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits based on claims that its vehicles caused accidents through unintended acceleration. [source: automotive news - sub. required]