Law Firm Investigating Toyota for ERISA Violations Related to Gas Pedal Defect

February 17, 2010 ( - The Law Offices of Howard G. Smith has announced it is investigating potential claims of Employee Retirement Income Security Act violations against Toyota Motor Corporation related to design defects in its vehicles' acceleration systems.

A press release said a shareholder lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California claims that between August 4, 2009, and February 2, 2010, Toyota and certain of its officers and directors misrepresented and/or failed to disclose that there was a major design defect in Toyota’s acceleration system, which could cause unintended acceleration, thereby causing Toyota securities to trade at artificially inflated prices.

 The law firm’s investigation concerns whether Toyota and other administrators of the company’s 401(k) plan failed to prudently and loyally manage the plan’s investments in Toyota stock by continuing to offer company stock when it was no longer a prudent investment for participants, according to the announcement.

Sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles has been blamed for at least 34 fatalities, according to complaints filed with National Highway Transportation Safety Authority. News reports say the agency has received more than 2,000 complaints from Toyota owners about their cars lurching and speeding unintentionally.

The company has recalled 8.5 million vehicles to fix sticking pedals and adjust the braking software on hybrid cars.  Safety regulators are investigating the timeliness of Toyota’s three recalls, and congressional representatives have called hearings on the handling of the recalls.

More information about the investigation is at