Something is Just Not Right about the Recent Toyota Law Suits and Settlements

Situation:  Toyota has proposed to pay over $1 billion to settle dozens of lawsuits for supposed accidents and deaths caused by unintended acceleration and other safety defects.

What seems wrong or inappropriate about the whole tragic series of events with Toyota vehicles?    The amount of the so called settlement (s); unproven and even outrageous claims by opportunistic owners and their lawyers; almost a kind of bias or intent from Ray LaHood and the NHTSA people; suits about to be brought by lawyers like Edgar Heiskell; and claims already paid for what was termed ‘wrongful deaths caused by safety defects” in Lexus and Toyota vehicles.

Did Toyota get a bad rap?  When one looks  at the news reports, filed court papers, eager lawyers and the limited responses from Toyota, you could be skeptical if not conclusive that this whole tragedy is and has been perpetuated by a kind of self-fulfilling series of incidents being capitalized on by lawyers and Toyota owners who see this as the opportunity to get rich.  Is there hysteria, greed and injustice going on here?

Has Toyota responded appropriately?  From the beginning Toyota management, dealers and Japanese management has been totally involved in with this issue.  Even the claim by NHTSA and the subsequent fine for not reporting the acceleration issues early were handled well and with a kind of grace by Toyota — and in much the same way that other OEMs have managed and reported possible problems to federal reporting agencies.

What would happen if Toyota does or has pushed back on these safety related claims?  Toyota’s in-house legal team and the PR management seem to be okay with taking such claims on the corporate chin and patiently waiting for each claim to be settled before or during trials around the country.  Somehow you wish they would stand up and say what they know, have found and believe  —  to defend their products, vehicles and reputation at all costs.

What is the alternative?   Toyota sales are better than ever. People have stopped making outrageous claims. Toyota has spent millions to pay claims for people to just have it all go away or stop seeking more money.

Who really will pay for all this?  Toyota stockholders, existing and future Toyota vehicle owners, and franchise dealers.  What if Toyota would have been able to invest the $1 billion in new plants in the U.S. or reducing the cost of new vehicles or even given it to charity.

The real floor mat issue: Did slipping floor mats cause some vehicles to accelerate in an uncontrollable matter?  Toyota apparently has said that it is possible but it needs to stop being made the “Floor Mat” for a litigious and opportunistic groups of lawyers who are taking on Toyota to gain millions in fees at the expense of the vehicle buying public. Some who Ray LaHood statements make you wonder if he  and NHTSA are really being “fair and unbiased” as well as some newspapers and even automotive trade publications.

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