Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , GM , Toyota In the past, if an automaker did something wrong, they were usually prosecuted by the US government through something called the TREAD Act. Short for Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, it basically requires automakers to report recalls in other countries, along with any and all serious injuries or deaths, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . Failing to report or attempting to conceal anything when there’s been a death or serious injury constitutes a criminal liability. The idea is that this setup puts the onus on manufacturers to keep NHTSA apprised of safety related issues before they become a problem in the US, thereby allowing the regulator to better protect consumers. In theory, it sounds like a relatively airtight set of rules for dealing with misbehaving automakers. That didn’t stop the US Department of Justice from ignoring TREAD in its prosecution of Toyota’s handling of the unintended acceleration recall, though. The result of this new approach, which charged Toyota with wire fraud, was a $1.2 billion settlement . Now, the wire-fraud approach could be used for the expected case between the US government and General Motors , based on the statements of Attorney General Eric Holder , who specifically mentioned “similarly situated companies” when discussing Toyota. In order to make wire fraud stick, US prosecutors would need to prove criminal intent. As explained by Reuters , that means there needs to be evidence that GM actively misled either regulators like NHTSA, or the general public, all in a bid to maintain sales.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota Toyota has already paid out millions and billions of dollars in settlements surrounding unintended acceleration , but the first lawsuit in the matter , which headed to a California court in July, has reached a verdict. Following the 2009 death of Noriko Uno, whose 2006 Camry was hit by another car and then sped out of control before crashing into a tree, the jury found that Toyota was not at fault in the crash. Even though the 2006 Camry (shown above) wasn’t involved in any of the unintended acceleration-related recalls and it was not equipped with a brake override, Automotive News reports that the jury’s verdict says there was no defect in the car and actually blames the entire incident on the driver that ran into Uno’s car – to the tune of $10 million. The accident started when the other driver ran a stop sign and hit Uno’s car, and the report says that medical conditions (including diabetes) caused Uno to fail to stop her Camry. The AN article also states that this lawsuit was a bellwether case for around 85 other personal-injury and wrongful-death suits against Toyota, but there are still many impending suits across the country. Scroll down for an official statement on this particular case from Toyota. Continue reading Toyota found not at fault in alleged unintended acceleration crash Toyota found not at fault in alleged unintended acceleration crash originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Oct 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Slowly, the many loose threads still dangling after the unintended acceleration issue Toyota faced a few years ago are being resolved. The Orange County District Attorney’s office was believed to be the first DA’s office to take Toyota to court , its suit alleging that Toyota knew its cars had defects and continued to sell them. The suit sought to “permanently enjoin Toyota from continued unlawful, unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices as it pertains to both consumers and competitors” and asked for $2,500 “for every violation of the Unfair Business Practices Act,” plus costs. That suit has now been settled, Toyota – without admitting fault or wrongdoing – agreeing to pay $16 million to the county. Half of the money will go to the Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership, another four million dollars to the OC DA’s office to investigate economic crime, the remaining four million being used to pay for the case. Toyota unintended acceleration lawsuit settled for $16M originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Apr 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota U.S. District Judge James Selna – who has presided over the unintended acceleration cases against Toyota since 2010 – says the automaker does not have the right to compel 20 named plaintiffs into arbitration. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for lawsuits covering economic losses from the alleged issue of unintended acceleration . Toyota had maintained that leasing and purchase agreements signed by the owners denies owners the right to class-action litigation. According to Bloomberg , although the ruling covers all 20, the are two kinds of plaintiffs in this instance. The judge decided that Toyota had lost its right to arbitration with fifteen of the plaintiffs only because Toyota waited so long to pursue it. Selna concluded that since the plaintiffs had come so far in the litigation process that “They would be prejudiced if their claims were required to be submitted to arbitration now.” Selna further denied Toyota’s right to arbitration with the remaining five because “the carmaker wasn’t a party to the arbitration agreements between the plaintiffs and the Toyota dealers.” The ruling finalizes the tentative decision Selna issued last month. Class-action status for the plaintiffs, however, has not yet been granted. Three trials are scheduled for next year, and they will be used to set precedents for evidence, liability and theories. It is expected that a final decision on class-action status will come after the conclusion of those three cases.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) National Research Council will release today its independent review entitled “The Safety Promise and Challenges of Automotive Electronics: Insights from Unintended Acceleration.” The comprehensive 162-page report was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to explore the broad issue of claims of unintended acceleration (“UA”) and their aftermath.