Toyota class action suit to start with Utah case

By the Associated Press | June 10, 2011 | 11:27 PM EDT

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge expects the first lawsuit to go to trial in a massive class action against Toyota Motor Corp. over a sudden acceleration problem that led the company to recall 14 million cars will involve a crash that killed two people in Utah.

U.S. District Judge James Selna told attorneys Friday that the case of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd — whose Toyota Camry slammed into a wall in Wendover, Utah, in 2010 — will go to trial in early 2013.

The case will be the first of several bellwether lawsuits, intended to determine how the rest of the litigation will proceed.

Toyota says it welcomes the first suit because it will focus on what it calls the alleged technical defects at the heart of the cases.