Toyota Owners Clear Hurdle Toward Lawsuits Over Sudden Acceleration

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A toyota Camry and toyota symbolToyota Motor Corp. will have to face lawsuits over deaths and personal injuries caused by allegations that its vehicles have an engineering defect that leads to unintended acceleration, so says a final ruling by a federal judge in California.

Lawyers for injured customers and families of those killed in accidents apparently provided sufficient evidence to allow their cases to go forward. That was the ruling of U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, Calif. Selna earlier denied Toyota's motion to dismiss class-action suits claiming economic losses related to sudden acceleration.Toyota is accused in the lawsuits of failing to disclose knowledge of a possible defect in its vehicles that could cause unintended acceleration. Toyota has said in court filings that the plaintiffs didn't offer specific allegations of an actual defect and that the company didn't conceal anything.

Selna said he wouldn't dismiss fraud allegations against Toyota related to unintended acceleration, citing claims by the plaintiffs. "Rather than disclosing the (unintended acceleration) defects to consumers, Toyota often blamed consumers for (unintended acceleration)-related problems," he wrote in his decision.

Toyota has recalled more than 10 million vehicles globally for repairs related to unintended acceleration complaints. Among the vehicles effected have been Toyota Corolla, Camry (pictured), Avalon and most Lexus sedans.

Toyota, if Judge Selna finalizes the decision, faces about 400 lawsuits, sure to be for millions of dollars per plaintiff, alleging lost vehicle value or injury or death from sudden acceleration.
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