Toyota has already paid billions of dollars in settlements surrounding unintended acceleration claims in 2009 and 2010, but a courtroom victory Thursday in California certainly provided some momentum for the Japanese automaker.
Following the death that killed Noriko Uno in August of 2009, the Los Angeles jury found Toyota was not to blame for a fatal accident in which the 66-year-old woman’s Camry sped out of control and crashed into a tree. The jury instead placed full responsibility on the driver of another vehicle that had crashed into Uno’s car before the Camry sped out of control. Jurors said the other driver should pay $10 million in damages to Uno’s husband and son.
“We are gratified that the jury concluded the design of the 2006 Camry did not contribute to this unfortunate accident, affirming the same conclusion we reached after more than three years of careful investigation –- that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle at issue in this case,” Carly Schaffner, a Toyota spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“We believe this verdict sets a significant benchmark by helping further confirm that Toyota vehicles are safe with or without brake override,” Schaffner added.
The Uno case was one of almost a hundred “unintended acceleration” lawsuits still pending in federal and state courts against Toyota. The case is tipped to be a bellwether, chosen by a judge to help predict the potential outcome of other lawsuits making similar claims.
Outside California, Toyota has won both injury cases that reached jury verdicts since the recalls, including one in New York and another in Philadelphia. Another state case began this week in Oklahoma.
News Source: Bloomberg