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Toyota Auto Products Liability Lawsuit Claims Keyless Lexus Caused Carbon Monoxide Death and Brain Injury

The family of Ernest Codelia Jr. is suing Toyota for his wrongful death. In their New York auto products liability complaint, they blame Lexus sedan’s keyless ignition for his carbon monoxide death. The 79-year-old attorney’s companion, Mary Rivera, sustained brain damage from the CO poisoning.
On February 27, 2009, Rivera parked the vehicle in the garage attached to the home that she shared with Codelia. The following day, family members discovered her unconscious on the bedroom floor, while Codelia was found dead in bed.
Autopsy results indicate that he had carbon monoxide in his system. While Rivera survived the CO poisoning, she has a hard time speaking and cannot walk.
In the wrongful death complaint, the family contends that Toyota neglected to install a “Shutdown” switch on the Lexus vehicle that could turn off the ignition when the car has been left untouched or unoccupied after a certain amount of time and that this auto design defect contributed to Codelia’s CO poisoning death.
This is not the first time that a Lexus car has been named as a possible cause of a carbon monoxide death. Chasity Sunshine Lee Glisson, a 29-year-old Florida woman, died from CO poisoning at her home last August. She, too, had a keyless Lexus in her garage (although when detectives found the 2006 vehicle, it was not running). Her boyfriend Timothy Maddock, also ended up in intensive care because of the CO exposure.
According to auto safety experts, there isn’t enough data to determine whether more people are leaving their vehicles running because of the keyless technology now offered by many vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that about 147 carbon monoxide poisonings occur annually—although it is unclear what role keyless ignition has played.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
CO poisoning is a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. Most victims never knew what hit them. Prolonged exposure to CO can cause brain damage and death.
Toyota sued in carbon monoxide tragedy that killed 79-year-old lawyer, NY Daily News, November 7, 2010
One dead, one in the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning in Boca, CBS12.com, August 28, 2010
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, eMedicineHealth
Related Web Resources:
Toyota Safety Issues, Product Liability Law Blog

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