Some Acceleration Claims Against Toyota Dismissed

By Sue Zeidler | April 22, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. has won the tentative dismissal of some claims in the class-action lawsuit brought by owners of its vehicles over problems with sudden acceleration.

In what would be a victory for Toyota if the ruling becomes definitive, U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, California, said New York and Florida class representatives cannot bring claims under their states’ laws for lost value in their vehicles due to Toyota’s recalls for sudden, unintended acceleration.

Toyota, which had filed a motion to dismiss the claims, said it does not comment on tentative rulings.

Selna is expected to rule definitively sometime after hearing oral arguments on Monday.

“As set forth herein, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants Motion to Dismiss,” said Selna in court documents filed on Friday.

The case consolidates class actions across various states.

Selna in December dismissed a U.S. lawsuit brought by owners in 14 other countries who said their Toyotas lost value because of the sudden acceleration problems.

Last June, Selna ruled that Toyota owners outside California who seek to recover losses from their vehicles’ value cannot pursue their claims under California law. California consumer protection laws are more favorable for plaintiffs than those of most other states.

Toyota has recalled several million vehicles for problems since late 2009, that owners have linked to unintended acceleration.

The recalls led to hundreds of state and federal lawsuits, including claims over alleged injuries and deaths and “economic loss” claims tied to lost resale value.

Selna handles most of the federal cases.

The case is in re:Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 10-ml-2151.

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