Judge Puts Brakes on Toyota Settlement for Now | Edmunds.com
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Judge Puts Brakes on Toyota Settlement for Now


Just the Facts:
  • A U.S. district court judge has delayed final approval of Toyota's $1.1-billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit by consumers involving problems of sudden, unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, including the 2001-'10 Toyota Prius and 2002-'10 Toyota Camry.
  • A fairness hearing on the matter is scheduled on Friday in U.S. district court in Santa Ana, California.
  • "The Court believes that the proposed settlement is in broad measure fair, adequate, and reasonable," wrote Judge James V. Selna in a tentative ruling posted on Thursday on the court's Web site. "Nevertheless, the difficulties with the allocation plan as it is currently drafted preclude final approval at this time."

SANTA ANA, California — A U.S. district court judge has delayed final approval of Toyota's $1.1-billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit by consumers involving problems of sudden, unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, including the 2001-'10 Toyota Prius and 2002-'10 Toyota Camry.

A fairness hearing on the matter, which seeks to resolve the economic-loss portion of the Toyota litigation, is scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT Friday in U.S. district court in Santa Ana, California.

"The Court believes that the proposed settlement is in broad measure fair, adequate, and reasonable," wrote Judge James V. Selna in a tentative ruling posted on Thursday on the court's Web site. "Nevertheless, the difficulties with the allocation plan as it is currently drafted preclude final approval at this time."

The decision does not become effective until Selna issues a final order.

In the meantime, consumers should be aware that July 29, 2013 is the deadline to submit a claim in the matter, according to the Toyota Economic Loss Settlement Web site.

The site provides details on which Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles are included in the settlement and lets consumers know if they are part of the settlement. The settlement is designed to resolve the economic-loss portion of the Toyota sudden-acceleration litigation.

The National Law Journal noted in May that "in documents and letters filed with the court, more than a dozen objectors raised various problems with the deal, including a proposed $30 million cy pres award for automotive accident research; the $200 million in attorney fees sought and the potential release of claims in companion litigation over antilock braking system defects in Prius vehicles."

A cy pres distribution is set up from unclaimed money remaining after class members have been paid.

A study by federal safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA found no link between reports of unintended acceleration and Toyota's electronic throttle-control system.

Edmunds says: Few expect the matter to be resolved today, as the economic-loss portion of the Toyota litigation continues to drag on.

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