Jul 19, 2013 4:09 PM by Eric Ross
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A California judge says he is finalizing a settlement worth more than $1 billion in cases where motorists say the value of their Toyotas plunged after recalls over claims they unexpectedly accelerated.
U.S. District Judge James Selna approved the deal Friday, closing one major chapter of a four-year legal saga involving Toyota Motor Corp.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Toyota since 2009, when the Japanese automaker started receiving numerous complaints that its cars accelerated on their own, causing crashes, injuries and even deaths.
Toyota has denied the allegations, blaming driver error, faulty floor mats and stuck accelerator pedals for the problems.
More than 14 million vehicles have been recalled since the claims surfaced.
Some wrongful-death cases remain, with one expected to start in a California courtroom next week.