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Toyota settlement may signal future legal strategy

January 18, 2013 • National News


FILE – This March 31, 2010 file photo shows the Toyota logo on a car at the New York International Auto Show in New York. Toyota Motor Corp. officials say the company has settled what was to be the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving sudden, unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As Toyota Motor Corp. chips away at settling lawsuits claiming its vehicles suddenly accelerate, the question remains whether attorneys who sued could prove to a jury there was a design flaw.

The company maintains stuck accelerator pedals, faulty floor mats and driver error are the reasons for vehicles unexpectedly surging, while plaintiffs’ attorneys contend Toyota’s electronic throttle control system is to blame.

Recent settlements totaling more than $1 billion by Toyota to resolve numerous lawsuits involving economic loss and a few involving wrongful death claims may signal that the automaker doesn’t want to risk coming out on the losing end of a potentially costly court decision.

“A bad loss in a jury trial would inflict lasting damage to Toyota in loss of public confidence,” said Los Login to read more

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