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Toyota unintended acceleration lawsuit evidence dispute

Lawyers representing both Toyota Motor Corporation and the huge group of individuals suing the automaker for claims relating to “unintended acceleration” have reportedly almost come to terms on to the plaintiffs accessing Toyota’s electronic coding that controls their throttle system.

The lawyers representing the group suing Toyota for a variety of reasons stemming from their unintended acceleration issues has requested that they be given access to the source coding used to control the various functions of the engine control unit. This is the brain of the car, and the area through which the electronic acceleration signals are sent. Evidently, the lawyers for the plaintiffs believe that these codes could help support their case against Toyota but the Japanese automaker doesn’t want to just hand off the intricate (and confidential) source coding used in their electronic control system.

After quite a bit of debating, the two parties have come to an arrangement where the technical experts for the plaintiffs can analyze the coding with Toyota’s people monitoring what is being viewed. Toyota feels that this addresses their concerns about company security and the plaintiffs’ lawyers feel that this is an adequate solution for their experts.

U.S. District Judge James V. Selna has scheduled a hearing for March 22nd to discuss and approve the final proposal for the two parties to gain access to the source code information. Judge Selna has already stated that the plaintiffs need to have full access to view this information, but Toyota is concerned that information pertaining to their source code could become available to their competition through the trial.

Judge Selna expects to have the massive group of cases go to trial in early 2013, so he has been pushing the two sides to work quickly on matters like this one. The reasons for the hundreds of lawsuits included in this batch include claims of wrongful death and personal injury from accidents, as well as economic loss due to accidents and the decline in residual value caused by their new-found quality control issues.

Source: Bloomberg

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