A federal judge in suburban Los Angeles has given his preliminary approval to a settlement estimated to be worth as much as $1.4 billion in a collection of cases involving the unintended acceleration of Toyota Motor Co. products – but the deal only resolves what one observer described as the “easy” part of the litigation facing the Japanese giant.
If given the court’s final okay sometime next year, the agreement would resolve claims that the unintended acceleration problems led to a sharp decline in the value of Toyota vehicles.
But it does not resolve scores of additional claims filed by those who allege they were injured during “runaway car” crashes or on behalf of others who were killed.
The new Toyota settlement resolves “an economic value lawsuit,” stresses Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. And while that may involve the majority of the lawsuits Toyota was facing, he notes it’s “the highly emotional lawsuits yet to be heard. And when you start parading in front of a jury grizzly images of people injured or killed that makes for great headlines.”