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Toyota to Begin Settlement Negotiations in Acceleration Suits

Toyota Motor Corp is set to begin settlement negotiations in hundreds of lawsuits involving unintended acceleration defects in several models of its vehicles, according to a U.S. District Judge's order on Thursday.

Judge James Selna placed the lawsuits in California federal court on hold while attorneys for the Japanese automaker and the plaintiffs attempt to settle the cases.

According to the order, settlement negotiations will begin in February, and will apply to all personal injury, wrongful death and property damage lawsuits filed over acceleration issues.

If the attorneys are unable to reach a settlement in any case, it will then proceed to formal mediation and then on to trial, if still unresolved.

The acceleration issue prompted the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles starting in 2009.