Courts OK settlement for economic loss in Toyota 'unintended acceleration' case

TORONTO – Courts in four provinces have given the thumbs up to a Canada-wide settlement with Toyota relating to consumer claims for alleged economic loss as a result of unintended acceleration involving certain Toyota vehicles.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said Monday that the settlement for economic loss following certain recalls in 2009 and 2010 does not impact ongoing litigation for personal injury or wrongful death claims related to alleged unintended acceleration.

“It’s a relief to know that Toyota is offering substantial benefits to a very large number of Canadian consumers in order to resolve these actions. I think that this is a fair settlement for Toyota owners across the country,” said Steven Hamilton, the representative plaintiff for members of the Ontario class.

The settlement — approved by courts in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan — provides class members with a customer support program for a minimum of three years and up to 10 years to cover all parts and labour costs for certain vehicle components.

Toyota class members may also have their vehicles equipped with a brake override system free of charge, or will receive cash payments in lieu of the upgrade where their vehicle is not eligible to receive the override system.

In addition, Toyota has agreed to fund scholarships at five Canadian engineering schools totalling $600,000 and to provide funding for claims administration, notice costs, honoraria for the representative plaintiffs, legal fees, disbursements and taxes.

The settlement was negotiated by law firms Rochon Genova LLP and Kim Orr PC, both of Toronto, Consumer Law Group of Montreal and Merchant Law Group of Regina