State of Connecticut v. Toyota Motor Corporation et al.: Connecticut is slated to collect $1.4 million as part of a $29 million settlement between Toyota and 29 U.S. states.
According to the Connecticut Attorney General's Office, Toyota concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration on certain Toyota and Lexus model cars, including the Camry, Tundra, Tacoma and Prius hybrid.
Attorneys general from the many states sued Toyota in 2010 after it recalled 14 million vehicles globally for accelerating without warning. The lawsuit accused Toyota of failing to notify customers promptly about the problems. Toyota has blamed sticky gas pedals, faulty floor mats and driver error.
During their investigation, the attorneys general found that poor communication between Toyota's headquarters in Japan and its U.S. operations had contributed to the problem.
In the settlement, Toyota has agreed to notify new buyers about defects in vehicles that it had purchased from previous owners. It also has agreed not to designate any vehicle with alleged safety defects as "Toyota certified" or misrepresent why a dealer has inspected or repaired a vehicle.
Further, the company agreed to improve communications between its Japan headquarters and its U.S. subsidiaries about how to handle safety problems.
The settlement sets aside an additional $5 million for customers who had to pay for rental cars or taxi fares while their cars were being repaired.
"This is a good result for the nation's consumers because Toyota has agreed to comply with all state laws prohibiting false and misleading advertising," Attorney General George Jepsen said in a statement. "In addition, Toyota agreed to comply with all state lemon laws, and all state and federal laws that apply to motor vehicles manufactured or sold by Toyota in the United States…"
Connecticut was part of a nine-state executive committee that investigated the unintended acceleration issues and negotiated the settlement agreement. The safety and design defects were investigated separately by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, resulting in $48.8 million in fines and penalties paid by Toyota in April and December 2010.
The multistate investigation focused on consumer disclosure issues and misrepresentations, such as: when Toyota was aware of the acceleration problem; whether it made timely disclosure to consumers; whether Toyota misrepresented the safety of vehicles to consumers through deceptive advertisements; and whether Toyota sold reacquired vehicles without disclosing that acceleration complaints had been made about them.