Toyota to pay $16 million in settlement with Orange County

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A Toyota Avalon hybrid car on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 15, 2013.

Toyota will pay $16 million as part of a legal settlement with the Orange County District Attorney's office.

The suit was one of a flood of cases brought against the automaker after more than 14 million vehicles were recalled in 2009 and 2010 – many of them still waiting to be heard or settled.

The District Attorney’s Office had accused the company of deceptive business practices after Toyota issued a series of recalls for vehicles that were at risk of sudden acceleration.  

District Attorney Tony Rackaukas claimed the company had concealed safety issues in violation of the state's Unfair Businesses Act. 

Under the settlement, Toyota continues to deny all the claims made by the suit.

"Having addressed floor mat and 'sticky pedal' issues with effective and durable solutions, we are gratified that Toyota vehicles are once again widely recognized as among the safest and most reliable on the road," Christopher P. Reynolds, an attorney and vice president for Toyota, said in a statement.

In the past, the carmaker blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and stuck accelerator pedals for the problems.

In the Orange County case, half of the $16 million will help fund Orange County's Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP).

"What we do in Orange County GRIP is work to try and keep kids out of gangs," Rackaukas said. "We work with kids that are fourth and fifth graders and basically try to keep them straight."

The other half of the settlement will be used to pay the costs of the case and the pursuit of future economic crime cases.

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