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Toyota seeks to settle acceleration cases

11:24 PM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
A Toyota Corolla sedan and Matrix wagon sit on the lot at a dealership in 2007.
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(USA Today)-- Toyota has entered talks to settle hundreds of state and federal lawsuits alleging their cars had defects that could cause them to accelerate on their own and crash.

The two judges in charge of the cases that have been consolidated issued orders Thursday saying that Toyota was now involved the intensive settlement process,the Los Angeles Times reports.

That puts all the cases in their courtrooms on ice until the outcome.

Settlement talks begin in February. If deals can't be reached, they go to a mediator and only then, if that doesn't work either in reaching an agreement, will they go to trial.

Toyota's ability to defend itself in so many cases wasn't helped by a jury verdict in Oklahomain October. There, a jury recommended a $3 million award to the victims of a unintended acceleration case in which a Toyota Camry crashed. The recommendation was forestalled by a settlement of that case, and came before the jury could address punitive damages.

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