Judge approves $1.6 billion settlement of Toyota case

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Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013 12:00 am

Toyota Motor Corp. has won final approval of a settlement, valued at as much as $1.63 billion by plaintiff lawyers, with U.S. consumers who claimed that recalls related to sudden, unintended acceleration caused their vehicles to lose value.

U.S. District Judge James V. Selna, who gave the accord preliminary approval in December, signed off on it last week in Santa Ana, Calif. The judge in June had delayed a decision until he received further documentation how the money would be distributed.

“I reaffirm my conclusion that this settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable,” Selna said. “I find this settlement to be extraordinary because every single dollar in the cash fund will go to claimants.”

The settlement resolves economic-loss allegations brought by Toyota drivers following the recall of more than 10 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 for problems related to possible unintended acceleration, including sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats that could shift out of position.

Toyota said in December that it would take a one-time $1.1 billion charge to cover the costs of the settlement.

The settlement includes $757 million in cash, including $227 million in attorneys’ fees and costs, and $875 million in nonmonetary benefits, including free installation of a brake- override system for eligible vehicles.

The settlement doesn’t resolve personal-injury and wrongful-death lawsuits based on allegations Toyota’s vehicles caused accidents through unintended acceleration.

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