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Toyota Personal Injury Suits Can Move Forward

By Jason Beahm on December 14, 2010 8:50 AM

It looks like the Toyota personal injury and wrongful death cases will be going forward.

A federal judge issued a preliminary opinion indicating that he will deny Toyota's motion to dismiss on several causes on action. U.S. District Judge James V. Selna did not indicate when he will make his final order. Assuming oral arguments did not change his preliminary opinion, the decision by Selna would be an early victory for plaintiffs suing over the Toyota recall, The Associated Press reports.

In the aftermath of the Toyota recall for sudden acceleration and brake defects this year, the automaker has been sued for claims including negligence, fraud, design defects and failure to warn. The judge's preliminary decision, if upheld, means that even more periphery lawsuits can go forward, such as claims that the value of the vehicles dropped after the recall.

Mark Robinson, an attorney who represents personal injury plaintiffs, said the judge did not seem persuaded by Toyota's arguments. Celeste Migliore, a Toyota spokeswoman released a statement after the hearing noting that the tentative ruling assumes the plaintiffs' Toyota personal injury allegations are true. Toyota said it is happy to have depositions go ahead so the company can learn more about their details of the cases.

Toyota has recalled car models including the RAV4, Corolla, Matrix, Camry, Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received thousands of reports of sudden acceleration from Toyota drivers. 93 deaths have also been implicated, The Associated Press reports, though it also notes that the government has confirmed only four deaths.

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