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Allstate sues Toyota in acceleration-caused claims
Bloomberg News
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Published: 10/5/2010 12:01 AM

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Toyota Motor Corp. was sued by Allstate Corp. and affiliates of the insurer saying they have paid $3 million for accidents caused by sudden acceleration.

Toyota "had full knowledge of the numerous complaints regarding its vehicles, that such vehicles were susceptible of sudden unintended acceleration, and thus that such vehicles posed a significant risk of property damage, as well as physical injury to vehicle occupants and other motorists," the Northbrook-based insurer said Oct. 1 in a complaint in California state court.

Sudden acceleration has accounted for at least 725 accidents with 304 injuries and 18 fatalities, Allstate said, citing Safety Research and Strategies Inc. Undisclosed flaws in the electronic throttle have been linked to sudden acceleration, it said.

It accused Toyota of negligence, product liability, breach of implied warranty and fraud.

"While Toyota has not seen the complaint, based on reports, we believe the unfounded allegations in this suit have no basis," Celeste Migliore, a spokeswoman for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. in Torrance, California, said today in an e- mailed statement.

Toyota said today that it hasn't found evidence its electronic throttle control caused unintended acceleration after engineers and technicians investigated more than 4,000 U.S. vehicles whose drivers made such complaints.

The world's largest automaker, based on Toyota City, Japan, is working to improve its brand image and quality after global recalls of more than 8 million vehicles for defects linked to unintended acceleration.

About 5 million recall-related repairs to fix sticky gas pedals and replace floor mats at risk of jamming the accelerator have been completed so far, Toyota said today.