Toyota Motor (TM) is asking a federal court in California to dismiss lawsuits brought against the company claiming that electronics -- not floor mats or sticky gas pedals -- are the cause of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

U.S. District Judge James Selna is to hear arguments presented by the Japanese automaker asking the court to throw out the lawsuits because plaintiffs have been unable to prove a defect in the design of the vehicles' electronic throttle control system.

Update: Selna tentatively ruled Friday that he will reject most of Toyota's challenge to the class-action lawsuits filed by Toyota owners over sudden acceleration, Bloomberg News reported.

Car owners' lawyers provided sufficient evidence to allow their cases to go forward, Selna said in a tentative ruling posted on his court's website.

"It is true that plaintiffs do not generally allege the precise dollar value of their losses, but that level of specificity is not required at this pleading stage," the judge wrote in his 63-page ruling. "It is enough that they allege a tangible loss that can be proved or disproved upon discovery."

Selna said he will issue a final ruling by Nov. 25, the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

(Earlier story continues below):

"Unless and until plaintiffs can provide factual allegations of a specific defect in the [throttle control system] that caused the subject vehicle to experience a sudden unintended acceleration event, plaintiffs' product liability and negligence claims should be dismissed," said Toyota attorney Vincent Galvin in documents filed with the court.

The numerous lawsuits, which have been consolidated and assigned to Selna, seek compensation for injuries and deaths due to sudden acceleration. Other plaintiffs want the automaker to compensate them for the reduced value of their cars and trucks that resulted from the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles worldwide to fix the defects.

The plaintiffs contend that the automaker failed to report incidents of unintended acceleration experienced by employees of Toyota dealerships. They also allege that the company bought back vehicles from owners who complained of sudden acceleration in exchange for confidentiality agreements barring them from discussing the matter.

The lawsuits, along with hundreds of others, were filed in the wake of Toyota's recall of about 8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S. to make repairs to prevent unintended acceleration incidents. The ongoing action involves two separate recall campaigns: one to repair sticking accelerators, and another to shave down gas pedals to prevent them from getting hung up on heavy rubber floor mats.

The recalls were the subject of congressional hearings earlier this year, and led to a record $16.4 million fine related to the sticky pedal recall. Toyota has repeatedly denied that there is any other source of the problem, although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has commissioned studies to see if electronic interference may be causing some of the malfunctions.

The recalls and subsequent bad publicity have taken a toll on Toyota's once dent-proof image for quality and safety, and the company's sales have been hurt, too. For the first time in decade, Toyota has lost market share in the U.S., and rival Ford Motor (F) has outsold Toyota nearly every month this year.


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Bobby Vee

Have the tests for unintended acceleration bin done passing under High Voltage
Transmission Lines where there are force fields that will even light up fluorescent bulbs when you stand next to them?

February 15 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sgentilejr

Two more people died last week in PA and two others in that vehicle's back seat survived and are in critical condition. The two who survived said it accelerated on it's own and it would not stop. There were long braking skid marks on the roadway going into the wall it hit. The driver was driving for over 30 years. So who are you going to believe? Toyota____or the people who were in the vehicles back seat who survived???

November 19 2010 at 8:31 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
sgentilejr

Toyota's defense is ___No one can prove exactly what is wrong with the electronics in our $20,000 plus vehicles. To sue us you must be able to prove 'exactly' what is wrong with these vehicles. Yet, when I buy a washing machine and it breaks down the Maytag repairman never say___Prove 'exactly what is wrong' with it or I will not repair your $400 washing machine.

November 19 2010 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JOEL

Toyta's junk cars- no concerns for the american famlies,makes me sick.Seeing our childrens' safty,and jobs being sucked up bye a company thats to greedy to fix problems and MY children will grow up knowing thir car is built buy FORD in the USA please be safe and buy american.Take pride knowing that your car was put together bye USA workers best in the world.

November 19 2010 at 6:31 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Michael

@kde2127506 12:58 pm Nov 19: you stated: "...e.c.u., that when anyone with a scan tool takes about 2 seconds to look at, they all showed that the brakes were never applied..." Why do you feel so confident the ECU reported absolute truth? It can happen that a flash memory was compromised by many factors.

November 19 2010 at 2:15 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Randy

We need to toss the japs the hell out of our country!!!

November 19 2010 at 1:48 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
ddan8719

Strange indeed..how any one can praise and defend this company is beyond beleif..How many have died now..two more a couple of days ago..had this been an american manufacturer they would have had there doors closed after the first accidents..Some freaky reason 70% of the educated idiots of this nation actually worship this company..with most never even stopping and looking at any american brands..its honda or toyota or nothing..and its been this way for approx 15 years..when toyota has a problem with recalls they go buy a new one..toyota sales actually increase on every recall..defies beleif..

November 19 2010 at 1:24 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
a1973amx

How many people remember a similar story line involving Audi in the 80's? Aside from fraud and/or stupidity, there was never a problem found with the Audis, but that didn't stop the frivolous lawsuits. Throw the lawsuits out!

November 19 2010 at 11:13 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to a1973amx's comment
woodh2o

Yes, of course throw them out, my Sister and Nephew were worthless and Toyota's bottom line is what really matters.

November 19 2010 at 11:37 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
mostlylessly

It just happened again last week killing someone...they can beg for the court to throw it out but almost 100 people have died in the last couple of years because of a damn toyota.

November 19 2010 at 10:57 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mostlylessly's comment
kde2127506

what these geniuses didn't know before they tried to commit fraud was the fact that these cars all have a computer brain, also known as an e.c.u., that when anyone with a scan tool takes about 2 seconds to look at, they all showed that the brakes were never applied.. for the slower ones here on this message board, that means that the morons had their feet planted firmly on the accelerator pedal. this news isn't exactly new either, it just wasn't as juicy a story as the big evil car company murdering all the common folk so it ended up somewhere near the recipe section of most papers.. i think the saddest part of all this crap is that we are really only one generation removed from people who could actually take care of themselves and accepted responsibility for screwing things up... it might be embarrassing to wreck your car, but not as much as wrecking your car and getting caught lying about it.. that makes you a LIAR as well as a shitty driver...

November 19 2010 at 12:58 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
jowh2

Toyota is trying to lie and buy their way out of this one like they have every thing else for years. Toyota should be baned from the U.S.A. Toyota has always built unsafe junk and always will. Their lies have finaly caught up with them. Japan said Americans are stuoid and the ones who buy and drive Toyotas are proving them right.

November 19 2010 at 10:04 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply