A U.S. District Court judge gave final approval of the settlement of a lawsuit filed against Toyota on behalf of owners of Toyota vehicles who claimed that the car maker’s recalls related to unintended acceleration caused their cars to depreciate in value.
Toyota recalled over 10 million vehicles around the world in 2009-2010 to check for sticky throttle pedals and out of position floor mats. The cash payout for Toyota to settle the economic-loss action will be close to a billion dollars, with individual payments ranging from $9.74 to $10,000, depending on what Toyota model, and whether it was bought, leased or rented, a total of $757 million. Plaintiff attorneys in the class action lawsuit will get another $227 million in fees and costs, and Toyota will retrofit, at no charge, some car models with brake override systems. The retrofit and other non-monetary benefits are valued at $875 million. In Tokyo, Toyota announced that the company will be taking a one-time $1.1 billion charge to cover the costs.
All of the lawyers involved seemed pleased with the settlement. U.S. District Judge James V. Selna, said during the final hearing, “I reaffirm my conclusion that this settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable. I find this settlement to be extraordinary because every single dollar in the cash fund will go to claimants.” That must mean that the plaintiff attorneys were paid from a different fund of cash.
One of those attorneys, Steve Berman, of the Hagens Berman firm which just last week filed a proposed class action suit in federal court against Ford over glitches in the MyFordTouch control and infotainment system, said that in regard to the Toyota suit, “Those people who submitted claims are getting 100 percent of their claims in this settlement.”
Toyota’s lawyer was happy as well. “This settlement is focused on getting the maximum amount to our customers,” John P. Hooper said. Though he said he was confident that Toyota would have won at trial, he said the company settled because it was “trying to find a resolution that would be of value to Toyota customers and put this litigation behind us.”
This lawsuit is unrelated to the property damage, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed in connection with alleged sudden unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles.