Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, Baltimore, was appointed lead plaintiff in a consolidated shareholder lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp., accused of failing to disclose defects related to sudden acceleration of its cars.
The $31.8 billion pension fund's law firm, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, will serve as lead counsel in the shareholder case under Monday's decision by U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer in Los Angeles.
Among the funds vying for lead plaintiff status, the Maryland fund alleged the largest losses, $257,580, on its investments in Toyota's American depository receipts.
Patrick Robbins, a lawyer for Toyota, declined to comment after the hearing on the investor suit.
The Toyota investors claim the carmaker misled them by not disclosing flaws in the acceleration system that prompted a recall of 2.3 million vehicles in North America in January. Toyota's American depository receipts have fallen 22% from a 52-week high of $91.97 on Jan. 19.
Toyota, the world's largest automaker, and U.S. auto-safety regulators are looking into causes of unintended acceleration in the company's cars and trucks. The Toyota City, Japan-based automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide in the past year for defects including pedals that stuck or snagged on floor mats.