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
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
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