Toyota Recall Class Action Lawsuits Can Proceed: Judge

A federal judge has rejected a motion to dismiss Toyota class action lawsuits filed by people who claim that they suffered economic loss as a result of recalls issued due to the risk of sudden acceleration. 

Toyota Motor Corp. had asked U.S. District Judge James V. Selna to throw out the economic losses lawsuits, saying that the plaintiffs had failed to identify a specific defect in the vehicles.

The lawsuits are different in nature from cases where Toyota drivers were injured or killed in an automobile accident caused by the uncontrolled acceleration of their vehicles accelerated out of control.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

The Toyota recall class action suits allege that the resale value of their vehicles was a large part of owning a Toyota or Lexus, and those values plummeted following a series of recalls issued by Toyota over the past 15 months. Plaintiffs claim that Toyota withheld information about the safety of the cars which would have affected their decisions to buy the vehicles.

Selna rejected the Japanese automakers arguments, saying that while plaintiffs could not give precise dollar amounts on their losses, “a safety consideration as fundamental as whether a car is able to stop when the brakes are applied is material to consumers.”

Toyota officials have said that the plaintiffs’ cases rest strongly on claims that the recalled vehicles have a defective electronic throttle control system which caused the acceleration problems. Many critics claim that Toyota knew about the problem and ignored it. However, Toyota maintains that there is no defective electronic throttle, and blames the acceleration incidents on overly thick and incorrectly installed floor mats which trapped accelerators, and defective gas pedals that got stuck in the open position.

Toyota recalls have been issued for about 11 million vehicles since September 2009, with 8.5 million recalled due to complaints that they may accelerate out of control. The recalls were issued in waves, starting with 4.2 million recalled for problems involving the floormats, and then later recalls indicated that there was a mechanical or electrical problem with the gas pedals.

In addition to class action lawsuits over the recalls, Toyota accidents due to uncontrolled acceleration have resulted in a number of individual lawsuits, including personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits filed by family members of people allegedly killed when their vehicles accelerated out of control.

In April, all federal Toyota sudden acceleration lawsuits were consolidated and centralized before Judge Selna as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for pretrial proceedings. There were about 228 federal lawsuits over recalled Toyota vehicles included in the MDL, and nearly 100 other lawsuits pending in state courts nationwide at the time.

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielctw/ / CC BY 2.0

Image Credit: |

2 Comments

  • DanielDecember 8, 2010 at 12:27 am

    My 86 yr old father bought a brand new 09 Tacoma in 2008 just months before the massive recalls. He is a pragmatic person and felt as though his purchase of such a reputable make of vehicle offset the higher overall price he paid for it. He is furious that Toyota witheld valueable information prior to and during the time he considered his purchase. This information would have affected his desir[Show More]My 86 yr old father bought a brand new 09 Tacoma in 2008 just months before the massive recalls. He is a pragmatic person and felt as though his purchase of such a reputable make of vehicle offset the higher overall price he paid for it. He is furious that Toyota witheld valueable information prior to and during the time he considered his purchase. This information would have affected his desire to purchase the vehicle or at the very least the price he would have paid. He, and people like him who's vehicles have sharply declined in value since the realls, should be compensated. My father doesn't use computers so I'm writing this so that his story is told to a wider group of people. Maybe someone will make Toyota accountable for their actions, or lack of action.

  • williamDecember 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I purchased my 05 toyota 4 runner in 05, becasue I had always heard that the toyota corporation was always the leader in the export business of all of their manufactured vechicles. I purchased a brand new tundra 05 off the show room floor previously to the 4 runner, because of the hype about how great the toyota family took care of its customers. It came to pass that my son needed a vechicle ver[Show More]I purchased my 05 toyota 4 runner in 05, becasue I had always heard that the toyota corporation was always the leader in the export business of all of their manufactured vechicles. I purchased a brand new tundra 05 off the show room floor previously to the 4 runner, because of the hype about how great the toyota family took care of its customers. It came to pass that my son needed a vechicle very badly , so i decided to sell him my truck and purchase a used 4 runner for myself. You can believe how disappointed I am in the things that have transpired in the last few months. I have seen a leader of exsports fall out of grace, and the head man in charge of everything dealing with toyota get on world wide tv and apologize not only to the toyota purchasers, but the whole world for the neglect, and decepitions done by toyota corporation. There have been many people hurt physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. They were lied to and deceived by the name of a corporation who so said stood behind its product. Well i have to say shame on them for what they have allowed to happen to innocent people, who trusted toyota to do the right thing to every body who believed in them and bought their cars. I feel any one who bought a toyota no matter the age has lost a lot of equity in their vechicles because of this at the least. People are afraid to buy new or used cars from owners because of the negativity reported world wide. I feel all owners of these trucks, cars, mini vans suv's ect have been hurt by this company and should be compensated as the least they can do to make it up to the american people who stood by them all these years. This of course is how I feel, but I feel that many or most owners will agree with me.

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories