Toyota settlement may signal future legal strategy

Toyota

Legal observers say recent settlements by Toyota Motor Corp. may signal the Japanese automaker would rather fight its battles behind closed doors instead of in a courtroom.

The company has been chipping away at settling lawsuits over sudden-acceleration issues.

It has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to resolve economic loss and some wrongful-death claims.

But the question remains whether attorneys who sued Toyota could prove to a jury there was a design flaw responsible for the dangerous problem.

The company maintains stuck accelerator pedals, faulty floor mats and driver error are to blame.

On Thursday, the company said it had settled a wrongful-death lawsuit set to go to trial next month. Terms of the deal weren't released.

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