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