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AP Investigation Finds Toyota Used Deceptive Practices When Sued

Toyota is currently facing nearly 100 federal wrongful death and injury lawsuits from victims of car accidents who blame their crashes on sudden acceleration. They are also facing 130 potential class-action lawsuits filed by Toyota owners who claim the recent recalls have significantly diminished their vehicles' value. The current recall includes 8 million vehicles worldwide. The National Highway Safety Administration has linked 52 deaths to accelerator-related car accidents.

Associated Press investigators reviewed dozens of lawsuits that were filed against the company over the last decade to gauge how they might handle the current and future lawsuits. The lawsuits reviewed involved vehicle rollovers, faulty air bag deployment, defective transmissions, bad brakes, and sudden acceleration. Investigators said that they found Toyota had routinely engaged in questionable, evasive and deceptive legal tactics when they were sued.

Investigators said that Toyota frequently claimed they did not have the information plaintiffs asked for and sometimes ignored court orders to hand over documents. They sometimes claimed that material needed was difficult to get to their Japan headquarters and refused to release data that was stored electronically in vehicles. Investigators also say that Toyota hid information or results of tests that could be damaging to their case. It is not illegal for a company to defend itself by objecting to handing over certain information, but it is a violation of the law to falsely claim that the evidence or information requested does not exist.

Toyota disputes the AP investigators' view that they have been deceptive. They claim that they follow the rules when defending the company against lawsuits.


Related Resources:

  • AP IMPACT: In Toyota cases, evasion becomes tactic (Associated Press)

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