Hagens Berman: Toyota Agrees to Fund a Settlement of Unintended Acceleration Cases Worth up to $1.4B

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by cwerdna, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    ^^^
    You should look at Smart pedals won’t put the brakes on driver error / UCLA Today, that I've pointed to a bunch of times before. I suspect the hitting the wrong pedal is the cause of some of the cases of SUA, along w/pedal entrapment and actual sticky pedals (the CTS ones).

    Notice how all the Toyota SUA noise and media hype has long since died down after all the recalls were done? Maybe it'll pick back up again since the settlement is making the news now... :rolleyes:
     
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  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    BTW, Toyota has posted a TON of info on the testing they do. It's all over Toyota.com. Some of is it at Toyota Electronic Throttle Control System Information. I'm sure you can find more by Googling for site:toyota.com accelerator testing.

    I don't discount that there still could be some software/firmware bug or some other electronic glitch, but again, it's interesting and useful to note that all the SUA hype, FUD and media attention died down long ago after all the recall work was performed.
     
  3. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Toyota's trouble is not that there is a likely bug or electronics problem. There problems with the lawsuits is quite different.

    Incidents of untineded acceleration is much higher in toyota's than other makes. This reasulted in NHTSA for years trying to grt toyota to add a brake interlock. Toyota went to the extent of hiring an NHTSA employee to lobby the NHTSA on safety matters.

    When toyota found trouble with with entrapment and sticky pedals, they continued to blame the driver and act as if it was not really their fault. This may have helped create a culture of denial which resulted at least in 1 lecus dealer ignoring reports of unintended acceleration, stacking floor mats, and the death of a family as a result.

    It was found in the investigation in 2010, toyota had lied about testing of electronics and software. It had not done tests that it had claimed to do.

    In 2010 Toyota was caught illegally with holding information from the NHTSA on the issue of untinended acceleration. They paid three fines. Toyota promised to reform.

    This month Toyota was hit with anouther fine, related to unintended acceleration they discovered in 2009, and did not report until this year. The law was they needed to report within 5 days. I can only assume that Toyota again with held information from regulators because the fines would be less than the lawsuits. Toyota had refused in the past to read the recorders in accidents, this was changed recently, but likely was to keep toyota from losing lawsuits. Getting caught again greatly increased what toyota needed to pay to settle these.

    I find it unlikely that there are electronics or software problems. There are likely more reports about toyota knowing about safety issues and hiding them from regulators that would be damaging to toyota's reputation. With the lawsuits pending, it is obvious that some inside toyota decided it was better to keep lieing to regulators.

    The least expensive way for toyota to get beyond this is to simply settle and reform. They need to really reform this time, and deal honestly with regulators.
     
  4. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    I once worked for a guy that said the best response to claims of imaginary problems was to show a flurry of activity until the claims went away.
     
  5. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    The problem here is the unintended acceleration was real. The best response is to have a brake interlock, and a edr recording pedal movement. Toyota has done this now, but seems to still be withholding information from regulators until today. That makes it likely that toyota would lose more money in terms of cash and PR if they kept on the current route.

    Toyota is going to upgrade software for brake interlock in cars that have the hardware. This is just good customer service. They also will extend warranties on certain components related to the accidents. I can not say these are bad moves for toyota, and they should have done it without the suit. This means Toyota will transfer money to dealerships, but it won't hurt the company.

    They will also reimburse people that sold their cars because of the safety concerns. Lets face it, this hurts toyota, but they are not being ripped off from this measure.
     
  6. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    If you hit your finger instead of the nail you intended to hit, the pain is real, but the problem is the hammer operator, not the hammer.
     
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  7. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    If you are pressing the brakes and not the accelerator, and the accerator is held down by the floormat the dealership put in your loaner, you have a case of unintended acceleration that is not driver error. Statistically toyota has had much higher unintended acceleration than other cars in this period.

    Toyota says this has been because of pedal entrapment and sticky pedals. If you want to settle which it was

    A) entrapment toyota corporate and/or toyota/lexus dealer problem
    B) Sticky pedal toyota corporate problem
    C) entrapment customer problem - installed against the advice of the dealership
    D) wrong pedal

    The best way is to use a good edr. Toyota claimed that they were not using good enough edr's in most cases, and refused to even read them in many law suits. The NHTSA attempted to get toyota to put brake interlocks in their cars for years, which would have removed problems A, B, and C. It is the basis of this refusal that toyota has the most liability in the court room. The recalls cost over $2B, in the scheme of things it is cheap for toyota to get rid of this problem for what looks like less than $1B after tax.

    If they had acted well in say 2006 or even 2008, costs would have been closer to $200M instead of the $3B that have resulted. IMHO it is much better for toyota to settle now, even though some people will get enriched at toyota's expense that do not deserve it. I do not know how many of the 89 deaths would have been prevented by a brake interlock and/or earlier fixes to sticky pedals and entrapment issues.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't like the sleazy lawyer tactics, but there were sleazy tactics on the part of toyota also, and lack of competence in the NHTSA that allowed Toyota to engage in its tactics.
     
  8. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    Gotta disagree. There never was, as far as anyone can prove, an electronically-caused UA issue.

    There were however multiple cases of operator-caused UA issue along with a very well-known floormat-interference UA issue.

    The software upgrade definitely would probably have solved all or most of these cases except where the operator panicced and continued stomping on the gas pedal.

    I agree that TM should have installed the BTO software far earlier than it did back in the 04-06 models. This is a failing of the entire organization from the top on down. BTO software existed at that time, the Germans were using it on multiple models. If it had been installed beginning in 04
    there's a very good chance the Saylors would still be alive and the entire witchhunt that followed would never have occurred.
     
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  9. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    Agreed. And I'd guess that the net cost to them will be far less than $1B after taxes, and that assumes every claimant each takes his or her full opportunity from the settlement.

    In fact if the BTO had been installed at the earliest opportunity the whole issue may never have occurred. Cost = $0 in lost sales, bad press, reputation harm, etc, etc.
     
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  10. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Then you agree with me. I did not say there was a proven software or electronics unintended acceleration issue, but you can not rule it out. By not adopting the NHTSA solution of brake over ride for these potential problems they left themselves open to lawsuits. This includes both entrapment and sticky pedals. The fact that they kept the entrapment issue on the RX secret from the NHTSA for years, is something that would be very damaging to toyota in court. The NHTSA fine on this seemed to coincide with this settlement.

    Completely agree here.
     
  11. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    Make that Hundreds of Millions. Lawyers are getting 14% of the total.
    And that doesn't include Toyotas lawyers.
     
  12. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    It would have been much better if Toyota had acted earlier on the safety of their vehicles. It would have been much better if NHTSA had regulated Toyota better. Now we are at the necessary evil of when corporations do harm and regulators don't regulate, lawyers get paid.

    Did the lawyers get too big of a pay day, IMHO yes But these were not frivolous lawsuits. Toyota does need to act responsibly with the NHTSA for safety, and not work against it. The NHTSA needs more core competence.
     
  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    One documented incident:
    Source: http://nepp.nasa.gov/whisker/reference/tech_papers/2011-NASA-GSFC-whisker-failure-app-sensor.pdf (pp. 8)

    Lawyers can argue to semantics but this is one test article that shows tin whiskers could lead to unpredictable and potentially a runaway throttle. Of course we know how to mitigate such events but in arguing a case in open court, this would be fodder for the plaintiffs.

    Having repaired almost a dozen, failing NHW11 accelerators, the 'tin whisker' hypothesis has a non-zero probability of happening. Knowing how lay people (married 35 years) react to unexpected events, I have an open mind. A proper risk analysis of the 'tin whisker' hypothesis makes sense to this engineer. I suspect the probability is nearly vanishingly small but without a formal analysis, it remains entertaining speculation.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  14. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Wow, I guess poor ol' Mr Sikes may have not been the creepy creep everyone thought he was after all :rolleyes:

    Did Bankrupt Runaway Prius Driver Fake "Unintended Acceleration?"

    [​IMG]

    Just because you're 5 months late on your Prius payments, and nearly 3 quarters of a million in debt, and previously made lots & lots of insurance claims doesn't mean you're a hack.
    or ... maybe it means SOME of the unintended acceleration claims were phony.
     
  15. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I hate it when people do this hill, use an example of a cheat to claim the real thing has not happened. Do you think Saylor faked his death or the 911 call. Unintended acceleration was real and documented in many case. Toyota has paid 4 fines for hiding unintended acceleration information from the NHTSA. The last one, after they promised it would never happen again. It was this last time getting caught in December that brought about more likely negative outcomes for toyota in court, as it appears they are still hiding information that would have to come out in court.
     
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