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Judge rules that Toyota must disclose recall settlement terms

Toyota Motor Corp reportedly settled with the first of what could be a great many lawsuits from consumers against the automaker for their lethal recall practices and when the settlement was achieved, Toyota requested that the terms of the settlement not be disclosed publicly but Judge Anthony J. Mohr has ruled that Toyota must indeed disclose the terms of the agreement.

Toyota originally requested that the terms of the various settlements remain private because it would “open a floodgate” of lawsuits against the automaker for a wide variety of lawsuits but Judge Mohr ruled on the side of humanity and the company will be forced to release the information about the final dollar value. This could set precedent for the cost of these unintended acceleration lawsuits and with a reports claiming over 100 deaths from their recall negligence, Toyota could be in for a long 2011 packed full of pending lawsuits from consumers.

The only good news for Toyota was that they are not required to disclose the terms of the settlement immediately, as the company had 48 hours to either seek a stay from the state court of appeals and the company could go so far as to retract their settlement offer.

This particular case is based on the unintended acceleration incident experienced by California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, when the 2009 Lexus ES that he was driving accelerated out of control, killing Saylor and three members of his family. Should Toyota continue with the terms of the settlement agreement, we should know within the week just how much it will cost Toyota for the people who lost their lives in the name of the automakers reputation.

Source: The LA Times