If Toyota was hoping to end its ongoing unintended acceleration-related legal issues, the latest bit of courtroom news will make the automaker quite unhappy. U.S. District Judge James Selna has ruled that vehicle owners can sue Toyota over economic losses. Some Toyota owners claim the automaker is responsible for diminished resale value of vehicles wearing the Toyota badge.

"A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect," said Selna.

Toyota, however, has stated that it remains confident it will emerge from the courtroom victorious. Selna's ruling moves the burden of proof over to the plaintiff's lawyers, and Toyota believes that no such proof of wrong-doing on its part exists. Lawyers for the plaintiffs will be tasked with proving that the automaker was aware of a defect and chose to ignore it.

One particular issue from Toyota's point of view, with regards to James Selna's ruling, is the judge has applied a California law to the case. One that may make it easier for plaintiffs to recover damages. Toyota argues that vehicle owners from all over the country are involved in the lawsuit, and therefore local state laws should be applied with respect to the owner's location. Either way, it appears that Toyota's legal drama is going to continue for quite some time.

*UPDATE: Toyota reached out to Autoblog.com for clarification. It appears the ruling has not yet come down, but that Selna is merely considering the application of California law to a case that reaches across the entire country.


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  • 25 Comments
      dontneedpants
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't recall a period of used Toyota bargains.
      mikoprivat
      • 3 Years Ago
      FINALLY...Toyota should be altogether disappear from the face of the earth...at least from the face of America. Their POS garbage is a public danger for the people who drive normal cars. Sue them to the last yen they have.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mikoprivat
        [blocked]
        rllama
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mikoprivat
        you might want to re-think opening that can of worms - if all car companies can get sued every time they do anything that hurts the re-sale value of their cars, it's probably not going to be Toyota who suffers the most damage.
        adam512
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Toyota have made amazing cars, and so what if some cars have no character to them at all. Owners find the cars character in the reliability and simple nature. Id like to see you try to make a car that would appeal to every single auto market on the earth! and become the largest car manufacturer in the world. If it wasnt for TOYOTA and (maybe Honda) the american manufacturers would have never stepped up their game to make good competitors like they are doing now, instead of coming out with crap from about 7-8 years ago!
      rllama
      • 3 Years Ago
      I imagine the re-sale value of Saturns and Pontiacs dropped quite a bit when GM closed down those brands, and closed those dealerships. Does this mean those owners can sue GM too?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Eric
      • 3 Years Ago
      so so so stupid.
      m
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a load of crap.
      David
      • 3 Years Ago
      "A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect," said Selna. But according to NHTSA and NASA there was no defect, except the Lexus ES350 which put in the wrong mats caused by the rental company who put them in. So basically these people are suing Toyota for "depreciation"? I had no idea buying Toyota was like buying gold.
        kevsflanagan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @David
        Your comment makes to much sense hence the general public will ignore it. I agree completely though. At the end of the day the entire Toyota UA problem is the classic case of "The sky is falling" everyone heard it and everyone thought they had it. Hell even Toyota fell for it and did that "shim" recall. A recall was issued hence any "defect" that may be perceived is now fixed. All cars have recalls it doesnt make the cars less valuable in the long run since said problems are fixed. These are people who are just greedy and looking for money.
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's what happens when you are number one. You become a target, both for the competition, and people just looking to see what they can get from you. It comes with the territory
      vlocityboy
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a Crock O' Stimpy. This is just self-perpetuating employment for a certain class of legal "professionals".
      adam512
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is as pointless as the Sh*t between your fingernails!
      Mondrell
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bad ruling seeing that not having some kind of defect is more an seemingly exception than the rule this day in age. How many 5+ year old vehicles are just NOW being recalled for serious or lethal flaws? And since you seem to believe that we live in a world where the integrity of a complex good that ultimately reduces itself to its base components should be guaranteed Judge Selna, should those owners be allowed to sue for 'economic losses' despite many not even being worth half of their original MSRP?
      JackS
      • 3 Years Ago
      this would set really stupid precedent...so every time an automaker recalls anything from now on you can sue for lower resale values? Since when is a manufacturer responsible for resale values?
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