Jun 14 by GJEL

Toyota Lawsuits Outside California Face Economic Damages Obstacles

To many, California is known for its strong consumer protection laws. That explains why the lawyers for the class action involving unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles sought to use a California law to determine the damages from loss of value to their Toyota vehicle. But late last week, a Santa Ana judge ruled that the 70% of economic damages lawsuits that are outside of California cannot “piggyback” on the state’s law. Instead, lawsuits will likely have to refer to their own state’s consumer laws, which are often much more restrictive than in California.

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Feb 11 by GJEL

Plaintiff Law Firms Charge Ahead Despite Toyota Report

n what has widely been considered a rebuke to plaintiff law firms taking on Toyota for personal injury and economic claims resulting from the company’s unintended acceleration problems, a government study concluded this week that none of these car accidents were the result of electrical malfunctions. Instead, the report said, all unintended acceleration accidents were caused by either driver error or manufacturing problems like sticky accelerator pedals and brake pads. But despite the difficult news, plaintiff law firms are charging ahead with lawsuits against Toyota.

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Jan 11 by GJEL

Toyota Launches Safety Institute to Reduce Car Accidents, Boost Sales

In 2010, Toyota was the only major auto brand to post reduced sales in the American marketplace, due largely to the company’s failing safety record following a string of allegations regarding unintended acceleration leading to car accidents. In an effort to improve auto safety (and likely their image), the Japanese auto giant has announced that it will put $50 million over five years toward a safety research center in Michigan. The planned center will work with universities, research entities, and federal agencies to study methods to reduce car injuries and deaths.

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Dec 14 by GJEL

Judge Will Hear Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Toyota

For the past few months, public opinion concerning the Toyota unintended acceleration lawsuits has largely favored the Japanese auto giant. But last week, a federal judge declined to dismiss 40 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against Toyota. Most notably, District Judge James Selna said he would address fraudulent concealment claims, which could carry significant punitive fees, and did not dismiss negligence, strict liability, or failure to warn counts against Toyota.

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Oct 21 by GJEL

Toyota Recalls 1.5 Million Vehicles for Potential Safety Defects

Regardless of how you feel about Toyota, the embattled auto giant that has recently recalled nearly 9 million vehicles worldwide, the company can be credited taking the crisis and turning it into an effort to boost quality standards. This week, for example, Toyota has recalled more than 1.5 million vehicles not because of accidents or complaints, but as a preemptive strike.

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Aug 25 by GJEL

Staged Accidents & Fake Insurance Claims Hurt the Little Guy, Too

Time and time again, plaintiffs trying to get what they deserve from negligent companies run into an unexpected obstacle. Not the team of lawyers hired to defend giant corporations or or judges with financial interests in such companies, but those who degrade legitimate claims by launching law suits based on imaginary or staged car accidents. Sadly, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that questionable insurance claims were up 14 percent in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period the year before.

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Aug 09 by GJEL

Toyota Unintended Acceleration Helps Free Man Thought Guilty of Car Accident

Pending lawsuits against Toyota are likely to result in compensation for victims of the company’s unintended acceleration problems that eventually led to the recall of more than eight million vehicles worldwide. But for some, like Koua Fong Lee, the lawsuits will have a much more pronounced impact, potentially leading to the acquittal of innocent drivers originally considered guilty of vehicular manslaughter.

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Jul 20 by GJEL

Toyota Could Face More Liability on Prius & ‘Delayed Discovery’

Last week a group of Toyota supporters and anti-attorney advocates celebrated when the Wall Street Journal reported that early findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that many of the unintended acceleration claims against the Japanese auto giant were the fault of driver error, not vehicle electronics.

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Jun 22 by GJEL

Toyota Plaintiffs Face Key Legal Obstacle in Unintended Acceleration Suits

Last week, I pushed back against the assertions that Toyota plaintiffs will be disappointed by the fate of their lawsuits against the Japanese automaker that has recalled nearly 9 million vehicles worldwide this year. While unintended acceleration claims were unsuccessful against companies like Audi in the past, I wrote, Toyota’s mistakes are publicly well known, which could indicate that plaintiffs will be satisfied this time around.

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Jun 18 by Ben

Do Past Unintended Acceleration Suits Mean Anything for Toyota?

A front-page story in the San Francisco Daily Journal yesterday predicted that plaintiffs filing lawsuits against Toyota based on unintended acceleration problems could be disappointed by the results. The article points to past acceleration-related lawsuits, mostly against German automaker Audi, which failed to convince juries that electrical problems were to blame for the accidents rather than driver error.

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Jun 15 by Ben

Congress Uses Carrot, Not Stick, For Auto Safety Overhaul

Reacting to the growing public denunciation of distracted driving and consumer distrust of the auto industry following Toyota’s massive worldwide safety recall, an auto safety overhaul is moving rapidly through Congress. Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to pass a bill that, after debate and compromise, has earned the support of consumers and automakers.

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Jun 08 by Ben

Citing Fires, General Motors Recalls 1.5 Million Cars

Your car’s definitely not supposed to catch on fire. Recognizing this, General Motors has announced a recall of nearly 1.5 million trucks and SUVs over windshield wiper fluid that can cause fires. In 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated a similar windshield-wiper defect among GM models and fined the Detroit-based company $1 million for failing to conduct a timely recall.

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Jun 07 by Ben

Chrysler Recalls 600,000 Vehicles to Address Fire and Brake Safety

Chrysler announced today that it will recall more than 600,000 vehicles for safety problems in the brakes and wiring of popular Jeep and Dodge models. The company will recall a quarter of a million 2008-2009 minivans for an electrical problem with sliding doors that could “possibly result in a fire”; nearly 300,000 2007-2010 Jeep Wranglers for brake fluid leaks and break failure “increasing the risk of a crash”; and 25,000 2007 Dodge Calibur and Jeep Compass models for sticky accelerator pedals.

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May 28 by Ben

Toyota Update: California State Cases Consolidated

Toyota managed to survive the last week of May without being threatened with any multi-million dollar fines. That’s likely because the embattled Japanese auto company already paid the Department of Transportation $16.4 million due to the hullabaloo surrounding its unintended acceleration problems, or because safety advocates are focusing on the BP oil disaster in the Gulf Coast for now. But that doesn’t mean Toyota had a dull week.

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May 20 by Ben

Congress Slams Toyota on Transparency, Safety Progress

Congress has made clear that it intends to launch a safety overhaul for the country’s fledgling auto industry. And despite years of heightened safety complaints and automobile recalls, Detroit, along with leading international automakers, appeared set to resist such restrictions, which they say will drastically increase the consumer cost of new cars.

At a Congressional hearing today, lawmakers had some harsh words for Toyota, which has recalled nearly 9 million vehicles worldwide, including 6 million here in the United States. “Toyota has repeatedly told the public it has conducted extensive testing for electronic defects,” said California Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We can find no basis for these assertions.”

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May 20 by Ben

Ford Wins, Toyota Loses in New Safety Survey

A national survey conducted by Consumer Reports and the National Research Center found that Americans’ faith in the quality and safety of Toyota vehicles has evaporated, while confidence in other leading automobile manufacturers has improved. This is no doubt the result of Toyota’s constant stream of recalls spanning the past few years, which prompted the Department of Transportation to fine the Japanese automaker $16.4 million, the largest penalty ever sought by the agency. But Toyota’s reputation in the gutter hasn’t stopped it from posting impressive profits already this year.

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May 18 by Ben

Judge Announces California-Centric Toyota Plaintiff’s Attorneys

Ever since it became clear that Toyota lawsuits would be consolidated in federal court, personal injury plaintiff’s lawyers have been vying for the opportunity to take on the embattled auto maker for claims that resulted from unintended acceleration in a number of Toyota models. On Friday, District Judge James Selna announced plaintiff’s attorneyson both the consumer and non-consumer sides of the issue.

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May 07 by Ben

This Week in Automobile Industry Recalls (With Rap Video)

The country’s top auto safety regulator put his rubber stamp on legislation introduced in congress this week that would increase the power of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to force automobile recalls. Responding to the legislation, the NHTSA’s head hancho David Strickland said “whether it’s negotiating with manufacturers or the ability for the agency to move forward in a mandatory fashion — those are the core of what we want to achieve.” With that in mind, we bring you This Week in Automobile Industry Recalls and a Toyota recall rap video.

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May 06 by Ben

Congress Pushes for Auto Safety Overhaul: Will Detroit Fight Back?

Until recently, Toyota has done everything it can to minimize the impact of its embarrassing string of safety violations and product recalls by admitting fault and forking over government fines without protest. Last week, the Detroit News reported that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have teamed up to demand more accountability from Detroit’s massive but flegling car industry. Now, the car industry is poised to remove the tail from between its legs and is starting to fight back.

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Apr 28 by Ben

Toyota Sequoia Added to Recall Blitz

Toyota’s in damage control mode. Feeling the backlash from their delayed recall of on vehicles with faulty brakes, the company now seems to be pulling any model with reported safety issues, whether or not they’ve caused accidents, injuries, or deaths. Toyota announced today that it will add 50,000 2003 Sequoia SUVs to its list of recalled vehicles to fix stability control issues that arise when accelerating from a stop. Knowing that the public relations damage has already set in, the company is taking steps to emerge as a leader in auto safety.

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