By on July 22, 2013

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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.

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17 Comments on “Toyota, Lawyers, Court Agree on Settlement Over Depreciation Caused by Unintended Acceleration Recalls...”

  • avatar

    I wonder what the news of this settlement is going to do for their depreciation. I mean, I almost forgot about the whole thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh no, far from forgotten… news about the latest civil suit popped up in my feed this morning.

      Somewhere in the article it said “witnesses reported seeing brake lights going on and *off*.” (emphasis mine) Sorry folks, cars don’t brake very well when you don’t use the brakes properly.

    • 0 avatar

      The settlement is final and the lawyers just got richer. You won’t get the payout posted on the websites. My claim payout was supposed to be 1700, I may get 125. They won’t tell you the payout amount on the phone. Ask to speak to a manager, they put you on hold forever. I’m going to expose this SCAM via CNN and 60 Minutes. I need your help now!!!

  • avatar

    What about BP? Don’t they have some liability here if said Toyota happened to be running on their fuel at the time?

  • avatar

    Does a prius even have a physical nuetral? Judging from how its transmission works, if you don’t need it, all a physical nuetral can do is give your transmission a huge failure point (the fact that they need not move the gears must be a huge plus). I suspect that cutting the power to the transmission motors would be pretty pointless (the friction would act as a fairly specific gear).

    I suspect we will find more corpses with a foot on the brake until somebody finally convices automotive software engineers that more features are bad, clever code is bad, dead simple and robust code is good, and more tests are good (and write them already). Writing robust software is a well known art. Convincing developers is hard, convincing managers that software development is going to be even more expensive is even harder.

    • 0 avatar

      It seems that the affected vehicles didn’t have any worse of an unintended acceleration claims history than any other car. While I agree there is too much goofy software out there, I think the lesson learned will be better recording of data to be used as a defense to future claims.

      • 0 avatar

        I was thinking more from a driver’s perspective. If any of a number of failures (most possible on any car) causes such a failure (either buggy software, shorted line to the throttle, stuck throttle, stuck gas pedal, etc.) on any other car you could just put it in neutral. You might lose the engine, but you will live. On the prius, you get to find out if the brakes will fade before the engine does (maybe at least moderately strong [OEM] “performance” brakes will be enough). I suspect that it really doesn’t happen often enough to warrant the better brakes, but its one of those things were you would rather face a larger danger when you are in control then a lesser one where you are helpless.

        • 0 avatar

          Looks like the volt uses the same transmission layout (as in the gears can be locked in place and it changes the ratio by twiddling various motor’s power).

  • avatar

    Title should read;
    Toyota gives billions away in Settlement over the depriciation caused by the Controversy of Unintended Acceleration Claims.
    It isn’t Toyota’s fault that the blood-thirsty media reported unsubstantiated claims (which turned out to be lies and falsehoods) as fact and people, so eager to point the finger at something reather than someone, chose to believe the hype and fear rather than form their own opinions based on fact (or wait for all the facts to come out).
    IMHO, if anything, the lying sacks who made the false claims should be paying billions to Toyota, who could then choose whether any of it goes to compensate for the depriciation or not.

  • avatar

    A proper manual transmission could have prevented all of this. Just recalls followed.

    There was no ghost in this machine:

    • 0 avatar

      The only transmission I have ever heard of that doesn’t have a neutral is in the Prius (I have no idea what Tessla used, I don’t think they need them anymore). The problem isn’t that the automatic won’t go into neutral (while it is indeed possible, having both happen just means God wants you dead). The problem is the driver (or the Prius) not the transmission.

      Everything else about the prius transmission appears to be absolutely amazing and likely the transmission of the future (assuming we still need them). Note that this refers to just the arrangement of the gears, I would assume other cars would have more traditionally oriented “shift patterns” than what prius owners want.

  • avatar

    That judge must be a moron. Does he think lawyers work for free? The money came from somewhere.

  • avatar

    1.1 billion dollars amounts to a $500 shyster tax on everyone who buys a new Toyota this year.

  • avatar

    In this market, I really can’t see Toyota cranking up their price.

  • avatar

    Depressing how people actually get rewarded by our legal system for filing such bogus lawsuits.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this led to all manufacturers placing a black box in all vehicles that recorded every mechanical and electronic function that occurs in the car.

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