Product Liability Law

Suit Claims Keyless Ignition Is to Blame for Lawyer’s Death


A lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., claims Toyota is to blame for the carbon monoxide death of a 79-year-old lawyer and the brain injury of his companion.

Ernest Codelia Jr. was still practicing law in the Bronx when he died in February 2009, the New York Daily News reports. His companion, Mary Rivera, accidentally left the engine running when she parked their Lexus in the attached garage to their home. When the couple was found the next day, Codelia was dead and Rivera had suffered brain damage.

According to the suit, the car had a keyless ignition that allows the car to continue running when the driver walks away with the key fob. The Lexus engine runs so quietly Rivera may not have realized the car was still running, the story says.

The suit says Toyota should have installed an automatic shutoff switch on the cars that turns off the engine when the car is idling and untouched for a period of time.

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