A jury began deliberating Wednesday to determine whether Toyota Motor Corp. should be held liable for the death of a California woman who was killed when her Camry suddenly accelerated and crashed, despite her efforts to stop.
The closing arguments in the $20 million lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. began on Monday and concluded Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. A jury will decide whether Toyota was negligent by not including a safety device on Noriko Uno’s 2006 Toyota Camry, or whether the crash was a result of her poor driving.
This trial is the first to go before a jury in a state court dealing with unintended sudden acceleration. The outcome of this bellwether case will help predict whether Toyota should be held responsible for the sudden unintended acceleration for approximately 80 similar cases filed in state courts.
Previously we reported that Toyota had agreed to pay more than $1 billion in lawsuits filed in federal court.
66-year-old Uno died four years ago when her car accelerated unexpectedly, heading the wrong way down a street, eventually hitting a telephone pole and a tree.
It was contended that design flaws, including the lack of a brake override system, was the cause of Uno’s death. Uno’s family is seeking $20 million in damages.
Toyota argued that Uno mistook the gas pedal for the car’s brakes.
Uno’s attorneys said in closing arguments that Uno pulled her emergency brake before she died, proving she tried to regain control of the car, leaving a message for jurors.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the message: “I did everything to save my life and the lives of others.”
As we stated on many occasions, Toyota has blamed the driver, blamed stuck accelerators, as well as blaming floor mats that trapped the gas pedal for the sudden unintended acceleration claims that led to the recall of millions of their vehicles worldwide.
Of interest, just last week, Ford Motor Co. won a Torrance Superior Court lawsuit that also alleged that the automaker was obligated to include a safety device that wasn’t sold with the vehicle. A jury ruled for the automaker after deliberating for one hour, rejecting a claim that Ford’s F-150 pickup truck should have been equipped with an inflatable seat belt.
The case brought by Isaura Garcia and Celia Morando arose from a Compton wreck about three years ago. In that crash, Garcia pressed on the gas pedal rather than the brake pedal while exiting a freeway, causing the truck to hit a guard rail, a Honda Civic, a Lexus LS400 and then a utility pole. The occupants of the truck survived but did sustain multiple injuries.
Many sudden acceleration cases have been consolidated and a judge is dealing with wrongful death and economic loss claims in federal court.
For more information, feel free to contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).