Toyota Motor Corp. sees its first case of wrongful death and personal injury related to its acceleration problems go to court today.
Opening statements commence this morning in the case Noriko Uno’s family brought against the Japanese automaker. Noriko’s husband Yasuharu Uno and her son Jeffrey claim Toyota is liable for Noriko’s death because it didn’t install a brake override system in her car, a 2006 Camry. Noriko’s car sped out of control, into oncoming traffcic and hit a tree, resulting in her death. According to Yasuharu and Jeffrey’s lawyer, the type of Camry Noriko was driving had more unintended acceleration claims than any other affected vehicle.
The sudden acceleration cases have plagued the Japanese automaker since 2009, when it began recalling thousands of its Toyota and Lexus vehicles after many similar crashes. “Toyota knew this,” Garo Mardirossian wrote in court documents in June. “Toyota did nothing to remedy this. Rather, it recalled and added brake override to the 2007 Toyota Camry, but left Mrs. Uno’s Toyota Camry on the roadways unsafe and without brake override.”
Although Toyota has settled other cases, Uno’s is the first to go to trial and may determine whether the automaker will be held liable for the acceleration problem. Toyota claims there was no problem with Uno’s Camry—and has said many of these types of crashes were caused by floor mats that trapped the gas pedal and driver error.
Read more InsideCounsel coverage of Toyota’s ongoing litigation: