Toyota Motor Corp.’s proposed $1.1 billion settlement related to unexpected acceleration problems with its vehicles won preliminary court approval on Friday.
The ruling brings Toyota one step closer to settling a legal battle that stretches back to 2009, when the company voluntarily recalled millions of cars and trucks amid reports that some vehicles were suddenly and unexpectedly accelerating.
Numerous lawsuits stemming from the problems were consolidated and split into two groups: those dealing with economic losses and those related to wrongful death. The current settlement involves only those Toyota owners who say that their vehicles lost significant value following the company’s recalls; a trial involving the wrongful death suits is slated to begin next month.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled that the settlement—which involves $500 million in cash for plaintiffs, installation of break override systems and a customer support program—“will likely serve the interests of the class members better than litigation,” NBC News reports.
Toyota maintains that poorly fitted floor mats, stuck accelerator pedals and driver error, not its electronic throttle control system, were responsible for the acceleration problems. The company did not admit wrongdoing as part of the deal.
A hearing on final approval is scheduled for June.
For more InsideCounsel coverage of the ongoing Toyota lawsuits, see: