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Judge rules Toyota must face economic loss lawsuits

Toyota Motor Corp. originally requested that lawsuits against them for economic loss stemming from their unintended acceleration issues be thrown out since plaintiffs may not be able to prove that loss but a US district judge has ruled that the courts will allow the economic loss suits.

U.S. District Judge James V. Selna has ruled that Toyota should face the lawsuits filed by a large number of Toyota owners for lost value to their vehicle when the unintended acceleration recalls came to light. Toyota has contested that this type of loss is too hard for the consumer to prove or for the automaker to disprove but the drop in residual value of the affected Toyota vehicles could be construed as proof for the plaintiffs.

Toyota’s main concern is that, should the initial group of Toyota owners suing for economic loss be successful with their suit, it could open a massive floodgate of more owners who have experienced similar losses in value due to the recall issues of the last few years.

This is the second time that Judge Selna has dismissed this type of request from Toyota’s lawyers, after the company filed a similar movement last November. In his most recent ruling, Judge Selna wrote:
Taking these allegations as true, as the court must at the pleading stage, they establish an economic loss. A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect.

In addition to the lawsuits for economic loss through vehicle residual values, Toyota also faces hundreds of lawsuits for wrongful death and personal injuries. Judge Selna is overseeing the evidence gathering stage and while he has ruled in favor of each side during the early stages, this recent ruling could be a major blow to the Japanese automaker as they near the courtroom proceedings of hundreds of bundled lawsuits.

Source: Automotive News

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Toyota’s first unintended acceleration settlement approved
Toyota recalls 51,000 Tundra pickups for driveshaft failure risks
Toyota recalls 308,000 SUVs for airbag risks
Toyota announces production cuts into June
Toyota granted access to financial information in unintended acceleration cases