Toyota Wins Access to Private Information in Personal Injury Lawsuit

According to Bloomberg, Toyota Motor Corp won a small victory in a personal injury lawsuit brought on by 81 Toyota owner plaintiffs. A judge’s ruling granted the company access to insurance and financial data of plaintiffs suing the auto maker over economic losses they claim to have suffered as a result of sudden acceleration defects in their Toyota-made vehicles.

The 81 plaintiffs tried to stop the defense from accessing information from banks, lending institutions and insurance companies. One of the private judges ruling in the case found nothing wrong with the subpoenas and granted the request. Judge John K. Trotter is assisting a U.S. District Judge James Selna of Santa Ana, California in resolving disputes between Toyota vehicle owners and the company over sudden acceleration claims.

Numerous claims have been filed against the auto maker across the country alleging wrongful death and personal injury from sudden acceleration. Toyota owners claim their vehicles suddenly increased speed and acceleration, causing injuries, crashes and financial damages.

The defense argued the subpoenas were necessary to gather information about the value of the affected Toyota vehicles. However, the plaintiffs argued the institutions subpoenaed had highly personal and irrelevant financial information including social security numbers, family finances and health-related data.
The defense attorneys felt that Toyota had to develop necessary evidence in order to effectively defend itself against these personal injury and wrongful death claims. The judge’s protective order will keep certain information confidential, according to Judge Trotter. Toyota’s sudden acceleration lawsuits are expected to go to trial early in 2013.

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