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Toyota Reaches Settlement in Unintended Acceleration Litigation
$1 billion-plus settlement receives preliminary approval
MIAMI (Jan. 4, 2013) – It was recently announced that a settlement has been reached between Toyota and thousands of current and former Toyota owners who were economically affected after claims of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles lead to a massive recall. The settlement – estimated between $1.2 and $1.4 billion – recently received preliminary approval by U.S. District Court Judge James. V. Selna. Final approval is expected in June.
Colson Hicks Eidson partner Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and was involved in efforts to discover how the Toyota vehicles could experience sudden acceleration and suggest design changes to overcome the problem. The settlement, announced by lead class action lawyer Steve Berman of Seattle, has been noted as the largest settlement in U.S. history involving alleged automobile defects. Eidson was one of 21 plaintiffs’ lawyers from around the country – and the only one from Florida – selected to manage the litigation involving U.S. claims.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Toyota has agreed to establish a $250 million fund to be paid to former Toyota owners who sold or traded their cars at a loss between September 2009 and December 2010. The company has also agreed to the installation of a brake override system to class members who currently own or lease certain vehicles (an estimated 3.25 million vehicles), as well as the establishment of an additional $250 million fund to pay current Toyota owners and lessees whose vehicles are not eligible for the brake override system installation. The settlement also provides a customer care warranty plan for certain vehicle components to all current Toyota owners and $30 million in education grants to further the study of auto safety and enhance driver education programs.
Toyota recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide between 2009 and 2010 after complaints of sudden unintended acceleration problems in several of its vehicles were reported. Hundreds of lawsuits across the country were filed against Toyota Motor Corp. The cases were consolidated in U.S. District Court in California.
A nationally recognized product liability expert, Eidson was the national co-lead counsel in the Ford Explorer/Firestone tire litigation, which prior to the Toyota recalls was the largest automotive recall in history. He was also involved in the Chrysler Minivan latch case that led to the recall of 4 million vehicles. In addition, at age 29, he tried and won along with his partners, the first case alleging that the Ford Pinto fuel system was defective.
For more information on the settlement, visit http://www.toyotaelsettlement.com.
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About Colson Hicks Eidson
The Law Firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with more than 40 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation. Partners at the firm have had the distinction of holding the following offices: President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. For more information, call 305-476-7400.