Auto Products Liability Lawsuits Claim Toyota Knew About Sudden Acceleration Problems in 2003

Documents filed this week in two auto products liability complaints against Toyota Motor Corp. claim that the automaker knew as far back as 2003 that some of its vehicles were experiencing sudden unintended acceleration problems. The lawsuits cite six incidents between 2003 and 2010 involving sudden acceleration, including some cases that were verified and replicated by its own dealers and technicians.
In one incident this year, a Toyota technician took one car on a test drive after a motorist complained that the vehicle was accelerating of its own accord. The technician reported experiencing the same problem. ABC reports that in 2003, another technician reported a “a mis-synchronism between engine speed and throttle position movement” during a sudden acceleration incident, which he called an “extremely dangerous problem.”
One of the auto products liability lawsuits is seeking class action status for car owners claiming that the alleged auto defects have lowered the price of their vehicles. The other complaint involves motorists injured or killed in Toyota sudden unintended acceleration accidents.
Already, hundreds of auto products liability lawsuits have been filed against Toyota over the unintended acceleration issue. Many of the complaints were consolidated into two federal lawsuits last year. Several dozen plaintiffs are involved but up to 40 million Toyota owners could be class members. Toyota is accused of not only knowing about the sudden acceleration problem and failing to report it, but also of taking great pains to hide the safety issue.
Meantime, there are more auto defect lawsuits against Toyota. In a Nevada auto products liability case, the widow of Jeffrey Mark Levine is suing the automaker for his wrongful death. The delivery driver was killed when his Toyota Tacoma rear-ended a mobile home last December.
Kim Levine contends that the gas pedal of the truck got entangled with the floor mat, causing the sudden unintended acceleration accident. She is seeking Las Vegas auto products liability damages for Jeffrey’s wrongful death on her behalf and for her two sons, ages 6 and 13. Also a defendant in the Nevada wrongful death lawsuit is Findlay Automotive Inc. One of its technicians had inspected the floor mat in November 2009.
Toyota sudden acceleration reports date to 2003, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2010
Docs: Toyota had acceleration issues since 2003, Associated Press, August 2, 2010
Toyota Documents Allegedly Reveal Company Able to Recreate Sudden Acceleration Incidents, ABC News, August 3, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Toyota Recall Information
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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