Trials & Litigation

Toyota found not liable in acceleration case

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Los Angeles jurors ruled for Toyota in a suit that had claimed a design defect in a 2006 Camry made it impossible to stop after being struck by another car.

The Camry driver, Noriko Uno, died in the accident. While jurors cleared Toyota, they did award $10 million in damages for negligence of the 86-year-old driver who struck Uno’s car, report The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times, the Los Angeles Times and NBC Los Angeles.

The lawyer for Uno’s family, Garo Mardirossian, had suggested that her foot became wedged on the gas pedal after the collision, but she was unable to stop the car by braking with her other foot because it lacked a brake override system, the Los Angeles Times says. The system, which deactivates the accelerator when the brake is pressed, wasn’t used in Toyota vehicles until 2010.

Defense lawyers had argued Uno likely mistook the accelerator for the brake. “The brakes would have stopped the car in this accident,” argued Toyota lawyer Vincent Galvin Jr., “if Mrs. Uno would have used them.”

The Toyota case was the first of several “bellwether” Toyota cases to go to trial. According to the Los Angeles Times, the impact on other cases is unclear because of the focus on the brake override system. Other cases allege electronic defects in Toyota cars.

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