Jury Finds Toyota Liable in Unintended Acceleration Death Claim

By Joseph Ax | October 25, 2013
toyota

Toyota Motor Corp. has been found liable in an unintended acceleration lawsuit in the U.S., one of the first such cases to go to trial since the Japanese carmaker began recalling millions of vehicles in 2009 over acceleration issues.

A jury in Oklahoma on Thursday awarded $3 million in compensatory damages to Jean Bookout, a driver injured in a 2007 crash, and the family of Barbara Schwarz, who was killed.

The lawsuit claimed defects caused Bookout’s 2005 Camry to accelerate unexpectedly, leading to the crash. Deliberations will resume on Friday to determine punitive damages.

The case, one of hundreds brought by individuals across the country claiming that their Toyota vehicles accelerated without warning, is the first to result in a verdict against the carmaker.

In two previous cases to reach trial, one in California and one in New York, juries found in Toyota’s favor.

Toyota representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs declined to comment, citing a gag order imposed by the judge.

There have been approximately 200 proposed class actions and more than 500 individual cases filed against Toyota since February 2009 over the alleged acceleration issues, according to a recent company regulatory filing.

The Oklahoma lawsuit claimed the Camry accelerated suddenly on Sept. 20, 2007, while Bookout was driving along an interstate highway and that applying both the brake and the emergency brake did nothing to slow it down.

The 2005 Camry model was not included in the acceleration-related recalls.

Toyota has already agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle class-action claims from owners over economic losses suffered because of the alleged defects. But that deal did not cover individual injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

 

 

Subscribe Like this article?
Subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Latest Comments

  • October 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm
    Libby says:
    One small problem, idk. We are entitled to a jury of our "peers." If I am not a scientist, accountant, or medical professional, I'm not sure I want them on my jury. Just sa... read more
  • October 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm
    Baxtor says:
    I don't think that was Toyota's intent. So just to clarify your reasoning if the weather person says it will be sunny today, and then a blizzard hits and you slide off the roa... read more
  • October 28, 2013 at 10:44 am
    idk says:
    When I was in law school clear back in 1989 there was discussion of professional paid juries. Scientists on science cases, financial and accountants on complex financial case... read more
See all comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

More News
More News Features