Toyota Wins Approval For Billion-Dollar Settlement

Toyota Motor Corp. and lawyers suing the company won preliminary court approval of a $1.1. billion settlement of claims that recalls for unintended acceleration hurt the value of U.S. customers’ vehicles.

The terms of the settlement filed Dec. 26 are “fair, reasonable and adequate,” U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., said Friday in granting preliminary approval.

Final approval will be determined following a fairness hearing set for June 14, Selna said.

The settlement resolves the economic-loss portion of the Toyota sudden-acceleration litigation.

Class, or group, actions were filed on behalf of Toyota owners who contended the company drove down the value of their vehicles by failing to disclose or fix defects.

The cases were combined in a multi-district litigation before Selna, who is also handling the federal personal injury and death suits. Lawsuits claiming personal injuries and deaths caused by such incidents remain pending, with the first federal trial set for February in Santa Ana.

The economic loss lawsuits followed a September 2009 announcement that the Japanese automaker was recalling 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles because of a defect that may cause floor mats to jam accelerator pedals.

The company later recalled vehicles over defects involving the pedals themselves.

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