Calif. judge tentatively rules against Toyota

September 12, 2011 - 11:45 PM

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge in California has tentatively decided not to dismiss the first of hundreds of lawsuits over acceleration problems against Toyota Motor Corp.

U.S. District Judge James Selna said Monday he may reject a motion by Toyota seeking to toss the suit, which involves a Utah crash that killed two people.

Selna earlier deemed the Utah lawsuit the first of several bellwether cases that will determine how the rest of the litigation will proceed.

The trial is slated to begin in 2013. Toyota declined to comment.

The company has recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems in several models and brake defects with the Prius hybrid. Toyota has blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals for the unintended acceleration.