December 15, 2010 | 2:37pm
A federal judge has tentatively (double-negative alert) refused to dismiss
dozens of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp., despite the automaker's motion.
U.S. District Judge James V. Selna issued the order last Wednesday, and then heard arguments from Toyota's lawyers the following day. If his ruling becomes final, the lawsuits will proceed to the next step.
In September, Santa Ana became ground zero
for the legal war against Toyota, which faces 51 suits, consolidated from more, claiming that acceleration and brake defects led to accidents. The automaker maintains that vehicle design was not the cause, and has instead blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed since Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles worldwide over the last year.