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Sudden Acceleration

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BUSINESS
December 26, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
Toyota Motor Co. has announced an agreement worth more than $1 billion to settle a lawsuit involving unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles. Under terms of the settlement, filed Wednesday in federal court in Santa Ana, Toyota will install a brake-override system in an estimated 3.25 million vehicles and compensate car owners for the alleged reduced value of the vehicles, among other terms. According to attorneys for the plaintiffs, the estimated value of the settlement makes it the largest of its kind, although there have been larger non-auto industry class settlements in recent years.
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AUTOS
April 9, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Toyota Motor Corp. will recall more than 6 million vehicles worldwide to fix a variety of problems, including a wiring issue that might disable airbags and a glitch that could trigger the driver's seat in some cars to suddenly shift. It's just the latest in a parade of massive recalls by manufacturers this year, especially in the U.S. Toyota's announcement Wednesday brought the number of vehicles called back by automakers in the U.S. to nearly 13 million so far this year, on pace to surpass the record 30.8 million vehicles recalled in 2004.
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BUSINESS
January 18, 2012 | By Ken Bensinger
The nation's top auto safety regulator is ill-equipped to detect problems with high-tech electronics commonplace in today's cars, a new government study has concluded. Calling such shortcomings “troubling,” the study called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to review its technical capabilities and appoint an advisory panel to help it handle potentially serious risks associated with systems such as adaptive cruise control and GPS navigation. In addition, the agency should require automakers to install electronic data recorders, often referred to as black boxes, in all new cars, and consider significant changes in the design of pedals and certain ignition systems.
AUTOS
April 7, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Automakers are on a torrid recall pace this year. Car companies have recalled about 11 million vehicles in the U.S. so far this year. General Motors Co. has called back the most: 6 million, including more than 2 million for an ignition switch issue linked to 13 deaths. That's already half the 22 million cars recalled in all of 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and more than a third of the recent high of 30.8 million vehicles in 2004. Other big recalls this year include 650,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos, 1 million cars from Nissan - including its popular Altima and Sentra sedans - almost 900,000 Honda Odyssey minivans and about 700,000 Toyota Prius hybrids.
BUSINESS
November 14, 2012 | By Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to settle a shareholder class-action lawsuit related to its sudden acceleration problems for $25.5 million. The settlement would put to rest allegations that the company hurt the value of its stock by hiding defects and other safety problems as well as by not acting swiftly to address vehicles that accelerated out of control. Those problems came to the surface in late 2009 following a horrific San Diego County accident that killed a family of four in a Lexus.
BUSINESS
December 12, 2013 | By Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp. has opened talks to settle hundreds of state and federal lawsuits alleging that defects caused its vehicles to accelerate suddenly and crash, resulting in serious injuries and deaths. The decision to enter what the courts called an "intensive settlement process" could bring closure to plaintiffs who have been battling the world's largest automaker since 2009, and to Toyota, which already has spent as much as $2 billion in legal costs and suffered damage to its public reputation.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
For $10 million, Toyota Motor Corp. managed to resolve what was seen as one of the most serious legal challenges in company history. Yet the amount, less than 1% of the titan's last quarterly profit, could set the tone for the wave of litigation Toyota still faces after problems with sudden acceleration in its vehicles garnered worldwide attention. The automaker agreed to pay the money, a figure disclosed Wednesday, to settle a lawsuit filed by the relatives of four people, including California Highway Patrol officer Mark Saylor, killed in a fiery crash near San Diego in August 2009.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A U.S. senator has raised concerns about a government investigation of sudden unintended acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles, saying the probe might have erroneously ruled out the company's electronic throttle control system as a cause. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said whistle-blowers recently have provided his office with information suggesting that the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with the help of NASA engineers, "may have been too narrow.
BUSINESS
February 9, 2011 | By Ralph Vartabedian,, Los Angeles Times
Sudden acceleration in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles is caused by mechanical rather than electronic systems, a federal study found, but regulators said they are considering requiring automakers to install a trio of safety systems designed to reduce the risk on future vehicles. Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood asserted that a 10-month probe conducted primarily by NASA engineers found no evidence that electronic defects or software code errors could account for the thousands of reported cases of sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles over the last decade.
BUSINESS
January 24, 1989 | From Associated Press
Sudden acceleration in Cadillac cars made from 1982 through 1988 has resulted in five deaths, a consumer affairs group said in a petition filed with the government Monday. The Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based group, petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to order a recall of 1.1 million Cadillacs having HT-4100 4.1-liter V-8 engines.
BUSINESS
March 19, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
In a landmark settlement of criminal charges, Toyota Motor Corp. admitted deceiving regulators about deadly safety defects and agreed to pay $1.2 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed on an automaker. In the unprecedented deal with the U.S. Justice Department, the world's largest automaker admitted it misled consumers about two defects that caused unintended sudden-acceleration incidents - sticking gas pedals and floor mats trapping the pedals. “Toyota put sales over safety, and profit over principle,” said George Venizelos, assistant director of the FBI. “The disregard Toyota had for the safety of the public was outrageous.
BUSINESS
February 10, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Here's how Toyota Motor Corp. plans to finally put the sudden-acceleration issue to rest: Pull out the checkbook. The automaker is reportedly close to paying a $1-billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into whether it properly reported safety complaints to regulators. Meanwhile, Toyota's lawyers are in settlement talks over hundreds of civil lawsuits alleging wrongful deaths or injuries, potentially adding hundreds of millions to the tab. Previously, Toyota agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a class-action case brought by thousands of Toyota owners who contended that sudden-acceleration problems damaged the value of their vehicles.
BUSINESS
December 12, 2013 | By Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp. has opened talks to settle hundreds of state and federal lawsuits alleging that defects caused its vehicles to accelerate suddenly and crash, resulting in serious injuries and deaths. The decision to enter what the courts called an "intensive settlement process" could bring closure to plaintiffs who have been battling the world's largest automaker since 2009, and to Toyota, which already has spent as much as $2 billion in legal costs and suffered damage to its public reputation.
AUTOS
October 25, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Facing the potential of paying millions of dollars in punitive damages after losing an Oklahoma sudden acceleration lawsuit, Toyota Motor Corp. quickly reached a settlement with the plaintiffs. On Thursday, an Oklahoma City jury found that faulty electronic systems in a Camry sedan caused it to accelerate out of control and crash, killing one woman and injuring another. The jury ordered Toyota to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages to the driver of the vehicle, Jean Bookout, and an additional $1.5 million to the family of Barbara Schwarz, who was killed in the crash.
AUTOS
October 25, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch and Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp.'s first loss in a sudden acceleration case, in an Oklahoma courtroom this week, could embolden attorneys nationwide who are looking to bring hundreds of similar cases. Worse for the Japanese automaker, the verdict centered on the company's electronics, which have been a focus for plaintiffs seeking to prove safety defects in the company's cars. Toyota on Friday confirmed that it had reached a confidential settlement in the lawsuit, which involved the fatal 2007 crash of a Camry.
AUTOS
October 24, 2013 | Ken Bensinger and Jerry Hirsch
An Oklahoma City jury has found that electronic defects in a Toyota Motor Corp. vehicle caused it to accelerate out of control and crash into a wall, killing a passenger and seriously injuring the driver. The verdict, handed down late Thursday, requires Toyota to pay a total of $3 million in compensatory damages to Jean Bookout and the family of the deceased passenger, Barbara Schwarz. They were the sole occupants of a 2005 Camry that crashed in Eufaula, Okla., in September 2007.
BUSINESS
April 1, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to hand over its top-secret source code to attorneys in class-action suits against the automaker, a potentially important victory for attorneys who claim that electronics can cause sudden acceleration. But within hours of that deal being filed in federal court in Santa Ana this week, a federal jury in New York ruled that at least in one case, Toyota was not to blame for sudden acceleration. The two developments underscore the complicated and contentious nature of the ongoing litigation over sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.
BUSINESS
August 11, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
Data from "black box" recorders on Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles that crashed after allegedly accelerating suddenly did not reveal any new safety defects other than sticky pedals and entrapped floor mats, regulators told Congressmen on Tuesday. The preliminary findings are based on a review of 58 event data recorders — which capture information such as velocity, braking and acceleration — from vehicles that were in accidents blamed on unintended acceleration. In a majority of the cases, data showed that brakes were not applied before impact.
BUSINESS
August 8, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Toyota Motor Corp. has battled hundreds of lawsuits in recent years related to sudden acceleration. But a landmark trial began Thursday with opening statements in a Los Angeles County Superior Court. Other litigation has focused on whether there is an electronic defect that triggers unexpected acceleration in some Toyota cars. But Garo Mardirossian - the attorney representing the heirs of a woman who was killed when her Toyota Camry unexpectedly sped to 100 mph - is skipping that argument entirely.
BUSINESS
July 22, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch and Ken Bensinger
Toyota has spent well over $1 billion settling lawsuits involving unintended acceleration, but the world's largest automaker still faces hundreds of other cases awaiting trial. First up is a suit filed by the heirs of Noriko Uno, a 66-year-old bookkeeper who was killed when her Toyota Camry unexpectedly sped to 100 mph on a city street in Upland in 2009. Jury selection started Monday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuit that argues Toyota Motor Corp. should have had a fail-safe system that enables the brakes to override the accelerator.
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