U.S. District Court Judge James Selna will hold a hearing today to decide who the lead plaintiff attorneys will be and what information must be turned over for the upcoming lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp. An excess of more than 320 lawsuits have been filed against the Japanese automaker to date. It is estimated that Toyota's economic damages could surpass $7 billion to compensate consumers for wrongful death suits and diminished value of thousands of vehicles.
Due to the sure mass of this case, Judge Selna plans to create several committees to oversee the individual wrongful death cases, the economic loss suits and the logistics of how the plaintiff attorneys will exchange information with Toyota.
Earlier this year hundreds of Toyota customers filed lawsuits against the automaker when they recalled more than 8 million Toyota vehicles for defects associated with sudden acceleration and brake "glitches" with its popular Prius hybrid. Initially, Toyota blamed faulty floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals for the unintended acceleration issues customer were experiencing. In addition, some consumers experienced defects with their vehicle's electronic throttle control system as well.
Legal experts estimate that Toyota will face at least a $3 billion payout if they decide to settle the cases. Toyota has already paid a record $16.4 million fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to report its vehicle's safety problems in a timely fashion.
NHTSA reports that 52 people have lost their lives due to Toyota's acceleration problems. Many more details of the case are still being determined.
- Hearing set in OC for Toyota lawsuits