December 31st, 2012

In many of our posts, we have commented on class action lawsuits that involve deceptive advertising and other labeling violations that affect consumers. We have yet to report on lawsuits that involve potentially dangerous products. In the tradition of starting a new year with resolutions, we endeavor to do so here.

Many of our readers are familiar with the mechanical problems Toyota Motor Corporation experienced in 2009 and 2010 regarding unintended acceleration of its Camry (which at the time was the best selling sedan in the United States). The acceleration problems led to scores of accidents and deaths, and even led to a Minnesota man being absolved of criminal manslaughter charges. It also led to the recall of millions of vehicles due to problems with the car’s floor mats being linked to the problems.

In a predictable fashion, a series of class action lawsuits ensued. A number of Plaintiffs accused Toyota of selling cars with dangerous defects, of ignoring the defects and not doing enough to correct them, and that the recalls caused the value of their vehicles to drop precipitously.

On Monday, Toyota announced that it had agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle the class action suits stemming from those complaints. The settlement will apply to more than 15 million cars sold in the United States, and will reportedly include Lexus and Scion vehicles. Class members will be eligible for cash payments, and additional warranty coverage.

The settlement does not cover injury or wrongful death claims. These claims will be handled in separate trials.

Source:, $1 Billion Toyota unintended acceleration class action settlement preliminarily approved, December 31, 2012