LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Southern California said on Friday they were filing a lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp, charging that the automaker has endangered the public with defective vehicles, and engaged in deceptive business practices.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' office said it was filing the civil suit against Toyota's U.S. sales arm -- Toyota Motor Sales USA -- "to enjoin them from continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices."
Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles globally to address the risk that accelerator pedals on a range of its vehicles could become stuck because of a loose floor mat or a glitch in the pedal assembly.
Unintended acceleration in the company's Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been linked to at least five U.S. crash deaths since 2007. Authorities are investigating reports alleging 47 other fatalities over the past decade.
Orange County is just north of San Diego County, where a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in a crash last August involving a Toyota vehicle. It abuts Los Angeles County, where Toyota has its U.S. sales headquarters in Torrance.
Rackauckas plans a press conference Friday morning.
Toyota representatives had no immediate comment.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall, editing by Matthew Lewis)