Monday, October 28, 2013


This story first appeared in USA Today.

Toyota settled a fatal crash case that allegedly involved sudden acceleration in a Toyota Camry the day after an Oklahoma jury awarded victims $3 million.

The jury already found Toyota Motor Corp. liable Thursday for the crash that killed Barbara Schwarz and injured Jean Bookout. Schwarz' family and Bookout each would have gotten $1.5 million if the jury's decision hadn't been superseded by the settlement.

The jury was deliberating punitive damages on top of the $3 million when the settlement was reached Friday.

The jury decided Toyota acted with "reckless disregard" for the rights of others.

Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner said the company strongly disagreed with the verdict and would continue defending its vehicles in similar cases.

This was the first trial in which the plaintiffs made Toyota electronic malfunctions the centerpiece of an unintended acceleration case, according to safety advocate Sean Kane, whose clients include plaintiff attorneys

"And what may be significant going forward is not the verdict...but what is entered into the public record about what Toyota knows about the failures of its Electronic Throttle Control System– Intelligent (ETCS-i) and when they knew it," Kane said Friday in a release.


 Toyota to pay $1.1B for 'unintended acceleration'

Earlier this month, a California jury failed to find Toyota liable for the death of a California woman who was killed when her 2006 Camry apparently accelerated and crashed despite her efforts to stop. Jurors deliberated for about five days before concluding the vehicle's design didn't contribute to the death of 66-year-old Noriko Uno, who died in August 2009 when she was struck by another motorist, sending her vehicle into a telephone pole and tree.

In July, a federal judge in California approved a $1.6 billion settlement in a class action suit filed over economic loss suffered by owners who say their vehicles lost value over the adverse publicity about the issue.

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