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Toyota settles bellwether wrongful death lawsuit with Utah family

Published January 17, 2013 6:59 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Los Angeles • Toyota Motor Corp. has settled with two Utah families in what was to be the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving sudden, unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles, a company spokesman said Thursday.

Toyota reached the agreement in the case brought by the family of Paul Van Alfen, of South Ogden, and Charlene Jones Lloyd, of Roy, spokeswoman Celeste Migliore said. They were killed when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall on Interstate 80 near Wendover in 2010.

Migliore would not disclose the financial terms.

The remaining lawsuits are not affected by the settlement, Migliore said.

Toyota issued a statement saying that the company and its attorneys may decide to settle select cases, but "we will have a number of other opportunities to defend our product at trial." Last month, Toyota agreed to a settlement worth more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming economic losses Toyota owners suffered when the Japanese automaker recalled millions of vehicles. Hundreds more lawsuits involving wrongful death and injury remained.

The Van Alfen case was to be the first of those tried and to serve as a bellwether for the rest. It had been set to go to trial in February.