A federal judge has scheduled the civil trial for Toyota sudden acceleration lawsuit of Van Alfen v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. for February 19, 2013. The Utah wrongful death case is the first of hundreds of auto products liability lawsuits claiming that acceleration problems with a Toyota vehicle resulted in personal injuries or wrongful deaths.
In this case, Paul Van Alfen, 66, and Charlene Jones Lloyd, 38, were killed
in a Utah car crash when the 2008 Toyota Camry they were in rammed into
a wall on November 5, 2010. Van Alfen was driving the car that investigators
say accelerated without warning.
Tire skid marks on the road show that he tried to stop the Toyota, which
then went through a stop sign and an intersection before striking the
wall. Lloyd was the fianc√© of his son, who was also injured
in the accident. Van Alfen’s wife was also injured.
After talking to the crash survivors and witnesses, the Utah Highway Patrol
determined that the gas pedal of the Toyota had gotten stuck. The model
of Camry that Van Alfen had been driving was among those that were recalled
because of concerns that their floor mats could get entangled with accelerator pedals.
Since 2009, Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles over concerns that
sticky gas pedals, poorly designed floor mats, or other defects have caused
sudden unintended acceleration accidents. The Van Alfen case is the first
bellwether case over this matter in national litigation against Toyota
to be scheduled for trial. Bellwether cases are significant in that their
outcomes often serve as a benchmark for future lawsuits.
Toyota to face 2013 trial over sudden acceleration, Reuters, June 10, 2011
Utah case first Toyota suit to see US court, Forbes/AP, June 11, 2011