Toyota settlement may signal future legal strategy

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Associated Press

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Legal observers say recent settlements by Toyota Motor Corp. may signal the Japanese automaker would rather fight its battles behind closed doors instead of in a courtroom.

The company has been chipping away at settling lawsuits over sudden-acceleration issues. It has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to resolve economic loss and some wrongful-death claims.

But the question remains whether attorneys who sued Toyota could prove to a jury there was a design flaw responsible for the dangerous problem.

The company maintains stuck accelerator pedals, faulty floor mats and driver error are to blame.

On Thursday, the company said it had settled a wrongful-death lawsuit set to go to trial next month. Terms of the deal weren't released.

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