Toyota has 30 days to turn over documents

Posted on Jun 02, 2010

A federal judge ruled on Friday that Toyota has 30 days to turn over documents related to complaints about unintended acceleration in its vehicles.

There are nearly 230 federal lawsuits that have been filed against the Japanese automaker. An additional 100 lawsuits have been filed in various state courts. Plaintiffs' lawyers are seeking at least 125,000 pages of internal documents which have already been submitted to Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Toyota faces many personal injury, wrongful death and economic loss suits in civil court in addition to class action consumer complaints. The automaker could also see a civil liability cost of $10 billion in its future.

8 million vehicles have been recalled for unintended acceleration which could be caused by a yet unidentified electronic glitch in its models. The defect could be linked to more than 89 reported deaths according to the NHTSA. The documents in question are said to show that Toyota dismissed the idea of an electronic fault in its vehicles and did not thoroughly investigate the issue following consumer complaints.

Plaintiffs' attorneys are claiming negligence, fraud and other wrong doings on behalf of the automaker in their suits. They believe the documents will help substantiate these claims.

Toyota does not have to turn over documents that may reveal trade secrets or otherwise injure their competive edge, according to the ruling. The company also has 60 days to turn over any Japanese-language documents.

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