Los Angeles: Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to hand over its top-secret source code to solicitors in class-action cases against the automaker, a potentially important victory for attorneys who claim that electronics can cause sudden acceleration.
But within hours of that deal being filed in federal court in Santa Ana this week, a federal jury in New York ruled that at least in one case, Toyota was not to blame for sudden acceleration. Since Toyota announced the first of a string of recalls related to the problem in late 2009, well over 100 cases have been filed against the automaker in state and federal courts.
Although Toyota has settled at least one case, it has insisted its vehicles are safe and reliable and has vigorously fought allegations that Toyota and Lexus cars contain electronic defects.
This year, the federal government released a report finding no flaws in the automaker's electronics. Auto safety advocates and lawyers suing the company have since called the report biased and incomplete.
Mark Robinson, one of the solicitors leading two massive consolidated cases in the Santa Ana venue, called agreement over the source code, which Toyota has called its "crown jewels", a key precedent.
The source code is the underlying program that runs the software on a vehicle's onboard computer system.