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Federal judge to consider dismissing lawsuits against Toyota for alleged sudden acceleration defects

Toyota's powers of persuasion will be put to the test in federal court today.

A U.S. District court judge in California is scheduled to consider whether to throw out lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp., claiming the automaker has sudden acceleration defects in its cars, according to an Associated Press report.

Toyota requested the judge dismiss some of the hundreds of lawsuits filed since the company started recalling millions of vehicles. The automaker says complainants have been unable to prove a design defect associated with its electronic throttle control system is responsible for the acceleration problems and crash-related fatalities.

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation for injury and death due to sudden acceleration. Others claim their cars and trucks lost value after the recalls.

According to a Los Angeles Times report:

Plaintiffs' attorneys have used "misleading information" in an attempt to prove their case, Toyota attorney Joel H. Smith said, in a webcast news conference on Thursday.

Smith said there's no evidence that even a single crash resulted from problems with vehicles' electronic throttle control systems. He claimed driver error was to blame for the crashing, noting many involved older drivers.

Steve Berman, lead plaintiffs' attorney in the class-action lawsuit, said in he was not swayed by Toyota's statements.

"Toyota is betting that by foisting this new barrage of propaganda, they somehow will be able to sway the court through media coverage," Berman said, in a prepared statement.

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