In its continuing effort to put a recent history of death and defects behind it, Toyota Motor entered an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to pay $1.2 billion to settle criminal charges.
Since 2009, consumers and regulatory agencies sought answers to the mystery of unintended acceleration in certain Toyota model cars. Defects in accelerator pedals and floor mats caused multiple fatalities and injuries across the United States.
While pursuing criminal charges against the company, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the actions of Toyota “shameful.” In settling the criminal charges, Toyota admits the following:
- Toyota willfully concealed and misled U.S. consumers about known defects in its vehicles.
- The company committed one count of wire fraud. Prosecution of the charge is deferred for three years. The Justice Department may dismiss the charge depending on the performance of Toyota in the interim.
According to information supporting the charges, Toyota concealed the accelerator defects and continued to manufacture cars with the same deadly problem. In ensuing years, Toyota has worked toward comprehensive improvement of its safety protocols, defect research and response to consumer concerns.
Despite the desire of Toyota to move forward, the facts of its negligence remain. The company continues to face hundreds of lawsuits for death and injury from the defects. Toyota already paid $1.6 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by owners of Toyota vehicles. The company is also named in a Securities and Exchange (SEC) Commission investigation.
If you are injured in an automobile or other accident in New York, seek skilled legal counsel.