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



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

    Attorney representing Toyota owners calls settlement “extraordinarily
                   hard-fought, exceptionally far-reaching”

Business Wire

LOS ANGELES -- December 26, 2012

The attorneys representing Toyota (NYSE:TM) owners who claim that their
vehicles are prone to sudden, unexplained acceleration today announced that
Toyota has agreed to a settlement valued between $1.2 and $1.4 billion, which
includes direct payments to consumers as well as the installation of a
brake-override system in an estimated 3.25 million vehicles.

The case was filed in 2010 after drivers across the country began reporting
that Toyota vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated. Toyota has long
maintained that the vehicles were free from electronic flaws causing the
acceleration.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nor the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was able to find any
defects in Toyota’s source code that could cause these events.

After a flurry of lawsuits were filed against Toyota, Judge James Selna
consolidated the cases in U.S. District Court in California and appointed
attorney Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro as
co-lead counsel on May 14, 2010, placing Berman in charge of directing the
class litigation and leading settlement discussions with the Japanese auto
manufacturer.

“After two years of intense work, including deposing hundreds of engineers,
pouring over thousands of documents and examining millions of lines of
software code, we are pleased that Toyota has agreed to a settlement that was
both extraordinarily hard-fought and is exceptionally far-reaching,” said
Berman.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Toyota will install a
brake-override system in vehicles subject to floor mat entrapment recalls.
Brake-override systems cut power to the throttle under certain circumstances
when the car receives simultaneous signals to accelerate and to stop.

In addition, the settlement establishes a fund of $250 million to be paid to
former Toyota owners who sold their cars during the period from Sept. 1, 2009,
through Dec. 31, 2010, to compensate those owners for an alleged reduced value
as a result of publicity concerning unintended acceleration.

A separate fund of $250 million will be established to compensate current
owners whose vehicles are not eligible for a brake-override system. The amount
consumers receive depends on the model and year of their Toyota, and the state
in which the car was purchased.

The settlement also provides that all 16 million current owners will be
eligible for a customer care plan that will warranty certain parts that
plaintiffs allege are tied to unintended acceleration for between three and 10
years.

The agreement also provides $30 million in education grants to independent
academic institutions to further the study of auto safety and to enhance
driver education. “We hope that this research can aid in finding out the
causes of unintended acceleration, and the solutions to fixing those issues,”
said Berman.

The total value of the settlement is estimated to be between $1.2 and $1.4
billion. This estimate amounts to the largest settlement of this type in US
history in terms of dollars paid out and number of vehicles involved.

Judge Selna is expected to review the proposed settlement on Dec. 28, 2012,
and if he agrees with its fairness, will grant preliminary approval.

Current and former Toyota owners will receive information about the settlement
and instructions on filing a claim in the coming months.

“From the very start, this was a challenging case,” Berman added. “We brought
in automotive experts, physicists and some of the world’s leading
theoreticians in electrical engineering to help us understand what happened to
drivers experiencing sudden acceleration. We are extraordinarily proud of how
we were able to represent the interests of Toyota owners, and believe this
settlement is both comprehensive in its scope and fair in compensation.”

Limited details of the settlement are available at www.hbsslaw.com/toyota,
www.ToyotaELsettlement.com or by calling 1-877 283-0507. More information will
be available once the court gives preliminary approval to the settlement.

BROADCAST MEDIA:

Broadcast quality video featuring Steve Berman commenting on the settlement is
available at ftp.clatterdin.com. The username to access the clips is “HBSS”
and the password is “generic.”

About Hagens Berman

Seattle-based Hagens represents whistleblowers, investors and consumers in
complex and class-action litigation. The firm has offices in 10 U.S. cities
including New York, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and
Washington, D.C. More about the law firm and its successes can be found
at www.hbsslaw.com. Visit the firm's class-action law blog at
www.classactionlawtoday.com.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20121226005172/en/

Multimedia
Available:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50516809&lang=en

Contact:

Mark Firmani, Firmani + Associates, Inc., 206-466-2706
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