Judge Halts Toyota Sudden Acceleration Cases, Settlement Talks Begin

Cases dealing with the alleged unintended acceleration of Toyota and Lexus vehicles are still ongoing, but the legal wrangling may soon be drawing to a close, or so the company hopes. Following an order for U.S. District Court judge James V. Selna, who issued an order last Thursday halting the suits, Toyota is meeting with attorneys representing parties that suffered injury or death in the alleged sudden acceleration cases for Toyota and Lexus vehicles to begin an “intensive settlement process” after both Toyota and the lawyers asked for time to try to settle the cases, Bloomberg reports.

All plaintiffs that have brought suit against Toyota can participate in the settlement process. Selna was scheduled to hear a consolidated case of approximately 200 federal court claims in March. The fast-track settlement action comes two months after Toyota’s first loss in which an Oklahoma City jury awarded $3 million to the plaintiffs.

Facing a protracted legal process that would cost both sides millions more in legal fees and potential monetary awards, Toyota likely wants to put the entire chapter behind itself. In addition to those directly impacted by injury and death related to the alleged unintended acceleration cases, other owners have claimed economic loss due to resale values impacted by the negative news.

The primary culprits in most of the cases include floormats that interfere with the function of the accelerator and brake pedals, as well as Toyota’s ETCS-i electronic throttle system.