A separate fund of $250 million will be established to compensate current owners whose vehicles are not eligible for a brake-override system. The amount consumers receive depends on the model and year of their Toyota, and the state in which the car was purchased.
The settlement also provides that all 16 million current owners will be eligible for a customer care plan that will warranty certain parts that plaintiffs allege are tied to unintended acceleration for between three and 10 years.
The agreement also provides $30 million in education grants to independent academic institutions to further the study of auto safety and to enhance driver education. “We hope that this research can aid in finding out the causes of unintended acceleration, and the solutions to fixing those issues,” said Berman.
The total value of the settlement is estimated to be between $1.2 and $1.4 billion. This estimate amounts to the largest settlement of this type in US history in terms of dollars paid out and number of vehicles involved.Judge Selna is expected to review the proposed settlement on Dec. 28, 2012, and if he agrees with its fairness, will grant preliminary approval. Current and former Toyota owners will receive information about the settlement and instructions on filing a claim in the coming months. “From the very start, this was a challenging case,” Berman added. “We brought in automotive experts, physicists and some of the world’s leading theoreticians in electrical engineering to help us understand what happened to drivers experiencing sudden acceleration. We are extraordinarily proud of how we were able to represent the interests of Toyota owners, and believe this settlement is both comprehensive in its scope and fair in compensation.” Limited details of the settlement are available at www.hbsslaw.com/toyota, www.ToyotaELsettlement.com or by calling 1-877 283-0507. More information will be available once the court gives preliminary approval to the settlement. BROADCAST MEDIA: Broadcast quality video featuring Steve Berman commenting on the settlement is available at ftp.clatterdin.com. The username to access the clips is “HBSS” and the password is “generic.” About Hagens Berman Seattle-based Hagens represents whistleblowers, investors and consumers in complex and class-action litigation. The firm has offices in 10 U.S. cities including New York, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Visit the firm's class-action law blog at www.classactionlawtoday.com.