Patrick Rall's picture

Toyota granted access to financial information in unintended acceleration cases

Toyota Motor Corp. has been granted access to the personal financial information of the 81 plaintiffs suing the automaker for economic losses stemming from the unintended acceleration issues after the legal counsel for the plaintiffs had attempted to block the automaker’s access to this personal information.
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The massive group of lawsuits filed against Toyota for their unintended acceleration issues include a variety of reasons for the suits, including wrongful death, personal injury claims and economic loss due to the problems with the vehicles. While those first two causes for the lawsuits will be a little tougher for Toyota to dispute (especially since the company has already started paying out for wrongful death), the subject of economic loss relating to the vehicles is one area where Toyota is paying special attention.

In disputing the fact that these owners were hit with economic loss due to either accidents or the overall value of their car declining due to the unintended acceleration issues, Toyota requested access to the personal financial information. After all, if someone is claiming economic loss, what better way to prove that then to present some financial documents showing the losses?

While it may make sense, it still seems like an invasion of privacy to some extent and because of that, the lawyers representing those 81 plaintiffs attempted to block Toyota’s access of financial documents. Fortunately for Toyota, John K. Trotter, one of the private judges assisting U.S. District Judge James Selna (the judge overseeing the entire unintended acceleration group of lawsuits), ruled that Toyota’s request was a fair one.

A lawyer for Toyota stated that the request to prohibit the automaker from accessing personal financial data came too late. The counsel for the plaintiffs stated that they were concerned that family finances and health related information would be revealed, but according to the US District Court, privacy concerns will be protected and any non-relevant information will not be available to Toyota’s lawyers.

This news comes just after Toyota and the plaintiffs lawyers had announced that they were near a solution on a means for the plaintiffs’ specialists to review Toyota’s engine control coding without compromising company security and releasing privileged information to their competition.

TorqueNews.com will continue covering this case, bringing you updates as they become available.

Source: Bloomberg

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