By on January 31, 2010

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal wrote: “Hell, in modern imagination, is not a place of fiery lakes and acrid fumes. It’s a maze of deposition rooms you can’t escape, where nothing is what it seems. That’s where Toyota has landed.“

Welcome to hell.

The Parker Waichman Alonso law firm , of Great Neck, NY, teamed up with the Becnel Law Firm, in New Orleans, LA and put on Businesswire that they “filed suit on behalf of several consumers who purchased Toyota vehicles subject to various recalls issued in January 2010 for defects in the vehicles’ gas pedals. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, seeks class action status.”

So what does the Esqs. from Long Island and New Orleans want? That Toyota is ordered to recall all affected vehicles? Isn’t Toyota already doing that? To the tune of some 8m (and mounting) cars worldwide?

Au contraire!

Their complaint “asks the Court to enjoin Toyota from implementing any fixes in the accelerator pedals of the subject vehicles without approval from the NHTSA.” To those who are not familiar with a strange language called Legalese, “enjoin” means “issue an injunction,” or, in even plainer English, “order someone to stop doing something.”

The lawyers ask the court to stop Toyota from fixing the recalled cars without approval from NHTSA. If the court grants this request, the cars will never get fixed.

The NHTSA never grants an approval. Toyota issued a press release that says “Regarding reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has “approved” a plan for our pedal recall; it is Toyota’s understanding that NHTSA does not officially approve recall remedies.”

The NHTSA can disapprove a recall plan. Approving one would mean taking responsibility. The NHTSA would never do that.

In case the judge wags his or her finger at the attorneys about that frivolous detail, they allege some more:

“The class action lawsuit filed by Parker Waichman Alonso LLP and the Becnel Law Firm, LLC alleges that, as a result of these recalls, Toyota owners lost the use of their vehicles, and sustained, among things, economic losses and severe emotional distress.”

TTAC is discussing with its legal team whether we should join the class action suit, and allege the loss of untold man-hours while covering the saga, along with losses incurred due to spikes in bandwidth and the cost of purchasing two accelerator pedals.

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67 Comments on “Lawyers Ask Court To Stop Toyota From Fixing Cars...”


  • avatar
    taxman100

    Ambulance chasers who smell blood in the water. The longer they can delay the fix, the more people potentially killed or injured, and hence, more opportunities to put money in their pockets.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      They don’t want people to die but these lawyers don’t care. The only thing they want is class action status because it involves millions of plaintiffs with a huge potential settlement amount.

      We’ve seen settlement of class action lawsuits for product defects that the manufacturer has otherwise refused to address. Because this involves a safety issue, and because Toyota is voluntarily repairing these vehicles, it is unlikely they will be able to interfere with Toyota and the NHTSA as they follow industry and regulatory protocol.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      No doubt. I was recently notified that I was going to be apart of a class action lawsuit. Should they win, I’ll get a $10 gift certificate towards a future order with the said company, whereas I assume the law firm will make hundreds of thousands of dollars?

      Of course to get out of this class action lawsuit that I didn’t ask for, it would require me to spend a half hour of my time writing letters. Goes to show who class action lawsuits are really for… the scum sucking lawyers. It’s amazing anyone wants to run a business these days?

    • 0 avatar
      94383Z71

      Don;t be silly. Toyota had no other option than to recall. It wasn’t voluntary. the gov’t basically told them to recall or the gov’t would step in and do it themselves, which would practically sink Toyota. They did it this was to save face.

      I’m glad all the negative press is happening. Shows what Yota’s been hiding for so long. Maybe people will come to their senses and realize American automakers aren’t the devil.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    This is what makes a resolution in the US that much more difficult, lots of outsiders try to find ways to make a windfall profit of any situation, regardless of how much they have to distort things.

  • avatar
    Sutures

    “…along with losses incurred due to spikes in bandwidth and the cost of purchasing two brake pedals.”

    Bertel, they weren’t BRAKE pedals… I know, second language and all, plus your English is much better than my German (your English is probably better than my English as well and its my primary language).

  • avatar

    Awright, late in Beijing ….

  • avatar
    drifter

    The video is very cool, Vince Mcmohan’s dream come true.

  • avatar
    Hoser

    “If you’re not part of the solution, there’s big money to be made in prolonging the problem” -despair.com

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I understand the fabled law firm Burnem, Prickem and Stabem are also preparing to file suit.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    I’m an attorney, as and such, let me tell of you that your rights (in cases of genuine, serious and permanent injuries are being absolutely stripped away by insurance and many other companies; stripped away in a massive and criminal fashion.

    Many states have now capped non-economic (i.e. pain and suffering) damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000.00. This amount is relevant regardless as to how serious and/or how obvious the injury and its causation are. The hospital could give you the wrong medication, 100x the dose, or amputate the wrong leg or remove the wrong organ, and you’re recourse would be capped at $250k.

    That’s just one instance of the pendulum swinging way too far in the hospitals’ favor. I could go on and on about other industries, injuries, and the limits on recovery for severe, proximately caused injuries, but I’ll spare you all the particulars.

    Just remember, when you or someone you love is butchered or mangled in a severe, permanent and life-altering manner, due to clear recklessness and negligence, you’ll want justice to be served, and that ability to seek justice is quickly waning.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I was always wondering, in the case of something negligent(little Joey dies from the wrong meds, Aunt Sarah is crippled due to a blown out tyre, etc.) is the restitution always in the form of money? Money, money, money, as if that’s going to bring little Joey back to life, or get Aunt Sarah running 10K’s again.

      Oh yeah, I forgot, lawyers can’t take 33% (or whatever)of any other form of settlement.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Almost forgot, since when was a personal injury lawyer ever interested in justice? If that’s what they were actually going for, three quarters of their numbers would starve to death.

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      Many states have now capped non-economic (i.e. pain and suffering) damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000.00.

      How many states? Which ones? I ask because one of the allegations in the health care debate is that medical malpractice awards are out of control and contribute greatly to health care costs. I don’t believe this statement, based on seemingly impartial analysis, but I’d really like to know which states have imposed caps.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      @ohsnapback, Would you please explain in plain English the difference between regular liability and strict liability? Just a nut shell for us.

    • 0 avatar
      CyCarConsulting

      It’s very amusing that lawyers are crying out about settlement caps, when they in fact with their greedy practices, forced the creation of the legislation. Unfortunately the deserved now get shafted, and all of us pay almost double for products, as a result.

      Oh, I forgot this one, the comeback for lawyers, oh yea if you get hurt the first thing you do is call a lawyer. That’s because you and your congressional buddies have set it up that way.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Just remember, when you or someone you love is butchered or mangled in a severe, permanent and life-altering manner, due to clear recklessness and negligence, you’ll want justice to be served, and that ability to seek justice is quickly waning.

      Fair enough, but what I really want is for me and the someones I love to not be butchered or mangled in a severe, permanent, and life-altering manner due to lawyers actively preventing a manufacturer from executing a fix to correct a known potential hazard.

      Who is that helping? Certainly not the people driving the cars effected by the recall, or anybody else on the road.

      Also, as a serious question, would you lose anything by simplifying “butchered or mangled in a severe, permanent and life-altering manner” down to “seriously injured or killed”?

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Notice the limit is to “pain and suffering” not to the total judgement. This would be in addition to all damages arising from the wrong, such as medical expenses, loss of work, ongoing therapy, etc. Either you are trying to obfuscate the truth, or you don’t understand what punitive means. It is an additional amount added on to punish the entity responsible for the damage for the presumed purpose of providing them with a greater incentive to do what is right in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      blmgtn_rezident

      Yeah, as an attorney, I’m sure you’re just OUTRAGED as such shenanigans! $250K cap! Commies!!

      Of course, a $250K cap means a cap on YOUR 1/3 of the award, doesn’t it??

      Shakespeare had it right: kill all the lawyers!

    • 0 avatar
      Joel

      Hold on a sec people. We all know that there are many sleazy lawyers out there that deserve all the mud we can sling at them. But, if you got injured in a way that really was the fault of something faulty, or, for example, a company dumping old toxic chemicals (happens more often than we would want it to) you would want the lawsuit to be effective to a) get them to stop dumping, b) clean up what they dumped, and c) help treat the people harmed by the dumping. You would want a lawyer that could go toe to toe with whatever the company could throw at you, and win. Or, maybe it’s a company that made a drug that was shown to be toxic, and they knew it but made the drug anyways, etc. etc. etc.
      Yes there are ambulance chasers, and they deserve to be beaten with your cane as you’re led into the hospital, but other, somewhat more reputable lawyers can be helpful, when they’re on your side.

  • avatar

    This pendulum swing (which may only affect medical malpractice) is a belated reaction to the gross abuse of the legal system to shake down manufacturers and insurance companies. The price is paid by the consumer.

    I’m in the parts business. I can take out product liability insurance. In the questionnaire, there is a box next to the question whether you export to the U.S. or Canada. Check the box, coverage will be denied, or will be capped to a ludicrous amount.

    In Europe, for instance, a lawyer in many countries is not allowed to get a cut of the award (no win, no fee,) the award is capped to a generous €70m (IIRC) per defect, it has to be proven that the defect existed when the item was bought, and the defect must have been identifiable during production by scientific means (i.e. a proper QA system.) There is no product liability if the product complies with a technical directive (for instance, if it is ECE compliant.) This cuts down on many frivolous lawsuits, and focuses on where the manufacturer really NSFWd up or was grossly negligent. Recalls are very strict. Claims of mental anguish due to a recall would be laughed out of court.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      Bertel, thank you for illustrating the difference in liability laws. But I think the second half of your post shows the fallacy in your opening statement.

      Europe doesn’t have “frivilous” lawsuits that “abuse” the system, however you want to define that. But the pre-production testing you describe prevents a lot of dangerous products from reaching the market, and European governments also enforce safety standards after the sale that are magnitudes greater than we have in the US.

      They don’t have cases like the infamous McDonald’s coffee suit in Europe because it is a criminal act for a restaurant to serve you coffee at a temperature that could cause a third-degree burn, and no European government would allow people to suffer second and third degree burns from coffee 700 times at one chain before taking action.

      American conservatives like to bitch about our product liability system, but hell will freeze before they trade it for the kind of government oversight and involvement that makes liability suits in Europe so rare. Look at the reaction to a modest health care reform proposal. Now try to imagine how the Tea Baggers would react to an Amercian TUV?

      The debate in the US over product liability isn’t between a European system and what we have now. It’s between having any accountability and none at all.

  • avatar
    lw

    I seem to remember Ford telling a few million of us to not park our cars in our garages for a few months while they sorted out a cruise control switch..

    Maybe they owe me a few grand for “lack of garage use”… A few of those mornings were chilly.. So maybe some emotional distress? And maybe I got a cold, so how about Ford paying for some cough syrup…

    These lawyers are a$$holes…

  • avatar
    210delray

    I hope the judge throws out these ambulance chasers on their ears.

    We don’t need a Catch-22 situation holding up the rapid implementation of this recall.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    Only a lawyer would consider $250,000 dollars chump change completely unworthy of consideration. Maybe that’s because it’s only 2 weeks wages for you? I don’t care how many hours you put in a law school, nobody is worth the rates that are charged by law firms. Don’t get me started on all those TV a$$holes shouting about ‘getting YOU all the money YOU deserve..’ either. The entitlement mentality that says if you are hurt in any way it means you’ve won the lottery just annoys the hell out of me.

    /rant

  • avatar
    vento97

    …and now, a word from our sponsor:

    “Whenever I see an accident, I think of the people who get hurt. Too often we’re not…err, I mean – they’re not properly compensated for their hardship.”

    “We at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe can help. We will tell you our fee up front, after the case is settled, win or lose – you have our word on it…” :)

    Now back to the TTAC forum for more knock-down, drag-out, free-for-all, full-contact comments..

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Gringos *rolleyes*

    This is insane. The worst part is that maybe in 2 years someone will make a movie on this. Erin Bronkovich style.

    And the customers still waiting for their cars to be fixed.

  • avatar
    The Gold Tooth

    As TTAC is to cars, so Overlawyered (http://overlawyered.com) is to the corrupt, slime-drenched filth of the plaintiff’s bar. Toyota’s troubles have already been mentioned on the site with, no doubt, more to come.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Detroit car makers, the UAW, doctors, lawers, profesional sports, most all are greedy-greedy-greedy. Not good! This could be our downfall.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Here’s a novel idea: Cap what the lawyer and ‘victim’ get at 250K, BUT allow anything over that amount to go to the charity of the ‘victim’s’ choice. I’m sure the people who file frivolous lawsuits aren’t doing it just for the money…and….just want justice….(Can’t stop laughing.)

  • avatar
    50merc

    OK, I’ve got to speak up in defense of lawyers. Many trial lawyers are highly moral and do not seek monetary gain, such as John Edwards … On second thought, never mind.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The way Toyota has handled this issue is absolute catnip for class action attorneys. The first big battle will be over which firm gets certified as representing the class.

    • 0 avatar
      ghillie

      I think that’s why this move has come so early. It’s tactical. The law firms involved have come up with a motion they can make now so that they can be first in line to get their action registered as the class action. Everyone has to come to them to join it. The motion is about nothing more than lawyers carving out their territorty.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    As a little balance to everybody blaming the lawyers ( and they do deserve it), if it weren’t for mind-numbed jurors who hand out these ridiculous awards and judges who were once lawyers themselves allowing these lawsuits, there wouldn’t be frivolous lawsuits for lawyers to get rich on.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    What’s frivolous?

    Are injuries that result in death of a parent or child, amputation, a lifetime w/a colostomy bag, etc. frivolous damages?

    The biggest problem with tort law is that corporations are bagging the majority of legislators at the state and federal levels, and as a consequence, judges absolutely biased towards insurance companies and other corporations are being nominated for open seats at state level courts, and nominated for federal level judicial appointments.

    By the way, to all the corporate apologists out there, the U.S. Government was well aware of the issue with Toyota pedal assemblies back in 2007, and even made contact with Toyota regarding it, yet Toyota did nothing.

    “The caller, a male voice, was panic-stricken: “We’re in a Lexus … we’re going north on 125 and our accelerator is stuck … we’re in trouble … there’s no brakes … we’re approaching the intersection … hold on … hold on and pray … pray …”

    The call ended with the sound of a crash.

    The Lexus ES 350 sedan, made by Toyota, had hit a sport utility vehicle, careened through a fence, rolled over and burst into flames. All four people inside were killed: the driver, Mark Saylor, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, and his wife, daughter and brother-in-law.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/business/01toyota.html?hp

    I guess those who have been injured and killed (such as Mr. Saylor, Californian police officer and the others in the vehicle) are to blame for their damages, and that any litigation filed over those deaths and injuries would merely be frivolous.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Oh, come on, that’s pure, disingenuous histrionics.

      In that instance, the floor mats were incorrectly installed by the dealer, the previous renter told the dealer the mats snagged the pedal and caused the same condition, and the driver had time to call 911 but not enough to study the (mechanical) shifter and put it into neutral.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      There is nothing frivolous about what happened to this driver and his family. Nor is what happened with the people whose car ended up in the bottom of a lake in Texas.

      WHAT IS FRIVOLOUS is the gaggles of mouth-breathing lawyers who are going to line up and get a piece of what they see as a huge payout. I’m just waiting to see the TV ads, “If you are a loved one were the victim of unintended acceleration while driving a Toyota vehicle you may be entitled to a financial settlement…”

      WHAT IS FRIVOLOUS is that in the interest of “justice” this will probably receive class status, which means a law firm or group of law firms will book all sorts of billable hours while the actual victims will end up with a coupon for a free oil change, just like what happens with EVERY CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT.

      The chum is in the water and the sharks are beginning to swarm.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      psarhjinian, when I read an article about the PCH cop and his family, he was driving and it was a family member in the back seat that called 911…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      psarhjinian
      Perhaps you would feel differently if it was 4 members of your family that were in the accident. Yes, it was an incorrect floormat installed by the dealer. Yes, the previous driver complained about it. But, the fact is that the dealer and the manufacture are both at fault. One for putting the incorrect floormat in there and not taking it out when someone complained about it. And the manufacture for not having a brake overside software and for not allowing for more clearance with the pedal. Sure, the driver probably could have made a different decision that would have saved the family. But, he didn’t put himself in that position knowingly or willingly. The fault is clearly with the dealer and manufacturer.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Perhaps you would feel differently if it was 4 members of your family that were in the accident. Yes, it was an incorrect floormat installed by the dealer. Yes, the previous driver complained about it. But, the fact is that the dealer and the manufacture are both at fault.

      You’re right that’d I’d probably feel different about it, but in this instance the manufacturer is barely at fault, and the dealer is in a world of trouble as they were made aware of the condition. There’s a world of difference between what I might “feel” and what the law actually makes provisions for.

      And the manufacture for not having a brake overside software and for not allowing for more clearance with the pedal.

      That’s pushing it. Never mind that quite a number of car makes (and any car with a “Good Ol’ Mechanical Throttle”) don’t have brake throttle overrides: Under normal circumstances, with the normal mats in position, there’s no problem. So, should anyone be able to sue if, say, they take their boot off and it snags the pedal?

      Sure, the driver probably could have made a different decision that would have saved the family. But, he didn’t put himself in that position knowingly or willingly.

      He rented and drove a car he wasn’t familiar with. Have a look at the Lexus shifter here. It’s not that hard to sort out unless you’re panicking, which is what happened here.

      Ignorance of proper use is not grounds for suit unless the manufacturer facilitated that ignorance maliciously. Child car-seats are a horrible example of this: lots of children are badly injured because their parents didn’t install the carseat correctly, but this isn’t Britax et al’s fault. If it was, you’d never be able to transport a child in a car.

      In this case, the dealer could be found at fault for making the car dangerous, but it would be really hard to peg Toyota for this because it’d be so very easy for any car to be similarly affected.

      The fault is clearly with the dealer and manufacturer.

      No, the fault is clearly with the renter and the dealer.

      Where Toyota is in trouble is where the mats were installed correctly and the pedal jammed because it’s their design defect. That’s not the case here, and no one is being served by disingenuously misusing the transcript of an unrelated 911 call in order to make a cheap emotional appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      blmgtn_rezident

      Then the driver of the Lexus is mostly at fault. It was well within his ability to shift the car into NEUTRAL, slowly braking while pulling off the road, then turning the car off.

      Seriously, was the driver so STUPID as to not recognize the proper course of action? Oh, well, let’s blame the Driver’s Ed class for failing to teach the proper procedures for a stuck accelerator! Wait…how did *I* know them? Common sense!

      Some people should NOT be allowed behind the wheel!

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Then the driver of the Lexus is mostly at fault. It was well within his ability to shift the car into NEUTRAL, slowly braking while pulling off the road, then turning the car off.

      Seriously, was the driver so STUPID as to not recognize the proper course of action?

      Ok, the driver panicked. And the Oprah-grade media should have refrained from classifying him as some sort of expert driver. An expert would have shifted to neutral and there would have been no deaths and no story.

      But such borderline drivers are quite normal today today. Heck, a few are related to me. But, in a rental, the floor mats need to be properly fitted. The dealer in this case deserves a legal tune up.

      What’s really sad about this whole fiasco is the teachable moment that’s being lost. Teach “shift to neutral” for an accelerator or brake problem. More important: teach to keep the driver’s seat area around the pedals CLEAN. I’m certain 100x more people have been killed by their trash rolling around brake and accelerator pedals than by any manufacturer ‘defect’. /rant

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    A friend of mine who passed the Bar but does not work as attorney, says that the best possible situation for society is to have class action lawsuits to give incentive to comply with laws and standards of reasonable behavior. It is unreasonable to expect government to enforce standing law effectively.

    His argument is intriguing, considering ineffectiveness of US Government and what we see about US business since we cleared out the Indians.

    Severe emotional distress? I saw we launch a class action lawsuit on behalf of general public, who have to live in a society where class action lawsuits abound. Target the class action lawyers. Then target lawyers in General. Mao had the right idea.

    Of course other changes would be needed, or shoddy behavior would run amok.

    I think it would not be hard to find a lawyer to take this one on if there was a probability of winning that, multiplied by likely judgement amount, worked out the a real sack of loot.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    “I guess those who have been injured and killed (such as Mr. Saylor, Californian police officer and the others in the vehicle) are to blame for their damages, and that any litigation filed over those deaths and injuries would merely be frivolous.

    Yes. Now you’re catching on. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. No one at Toyota said “Hey, lets put a really crappy gas pedal into all our cars and then make the car unstoppable. The crash videos will give us hours of entertainment on YouTube”.

    It is possible for a perfectly designed part to fail and cause exactly the same accident. This is not a lawsuit. It is also always possible for a creative idiot to find the one way to misuse a well-designed product such that injury and death result – eg “Ghost-riding the whip”. This is not a lawsuit. It is possible that Toyota needed a new pedal supplier, tested the part thoroughly, and missed something. This is not a lawsuit.

  • avatar

    We are talking about a class action lawsuit here, not a personal injury or wrongful death suit. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it, class action suits do not result in any sort of windfall for the palintiffs. The lawyers who represent the plaintiffs will collect fees totaling hundreds of millions of dollars while the plaintiffs will each get a coupon good for a small discount on the next vehicle they purchase from Toyota. In legalese this is called “justice.”

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    With respect to those who are injured seriously or fatally b/c of proven defects with the pedal assembly, their cases will most likely be litigated individually, and not on a class action basis.

    Class action lawsuits typically are used where injuries are economic, or where any potential for injury has yet to manifest itself, and where all circumstances of all plaintiffs, regarding the incident in question, are nearly identical (e.g. thousands of people overcharged for utilities; e.g. asbestos exposure).

    No one knows if Toyota/CTS is/are at fault as of yet, in terms of designing and/or utilizing a faulty pedal assembly. If either is, under American Jurisprudence, they bear liability under the doctrine of strict product liability.

    It is because of the doctrine of strict product liability that relatively few people are severely injured or killed in the U.S. each year due to improperly designed products. Corporations are inherently profit maximizers, and would never spend the extra $1.05 per gadget to make an electrical component safe or fire resistant, or to incorporate a hand guard near a blade, or ensure that no toxic chemicals/paints were used in a child’s toy.

    p.s. – Under tort law, a manufacturer that makes a product safer in the future, or redesigns a component after learning of specific safety issues, can not have those actions admitted into evidence in subsequent litigation as proof of liability, as that would discourage manufacturers from making their products safer. The jury (in the case of a jury trial) or judge (in a bench trial) will never know of such remedial actions.

    p.s. II – to those of you who think all plaintiff attorneys are uber wealthy and unethical, I assure you that you’ve never had clients who had family members (even children) forever maimed under horrific circumstances, due to absolutely clear and reckless corporate acts or inaction, and who were left with no recourse whatsoever, due to defendant friendly statutory changes. To those who say money won’t solve anything, try caring for individuals with permanent and severe brain injuries for the rest of their (and your) lives if you’re already not a multi-millionaire or better.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      ohsnapback: p.s. II – to those of you who think all plaintiff attorneys are uber wealthy and unethical, I assure you that you’ve never had clients who had family members (even children) forever maimed under horrific circumstances, due to absolutely clear and reckless corporate acts or inaction, and who were left with no recourse whatsoever, due to defendant friendly statutory changes.

      Sorry, but real life isn’t like the movies. Most products liability or tort cases aren’t strictly black-and-white – where innocent consumer is harmed by greedy corporation looking to ring the last penny of profit from a product, regardless of whether this profit drive makes the product unsafe.

      ohsnapback: To those who say money won’t solve anything, try caring for individuals with permanent and severe brain injuries for the rest of their (and your) lives if you’re already not a multi-millionaire or better.

      Which is why monetary awards meant to pay for the medical care made necessary by an actual injury are not capped. A plaintiff should still receive adequate funds to pay for the necessary medical care or services.

      Your example has nothing to do with punitive damages, which have been capped in various states. Punitive damages aren’t used for medical care.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Geeber:

      Exactly, but Ohsnapback doesn’t want to address this point. He just dances around it and sets up a straw man that he can knock down with an emotional appeal. Either intentional obfuscation to equate punitive damages with the total judgement or a serious lack of knowledge.

  • avatar
    Christy Garwood

    BS, thanks for the drollness of this comment:
    “TTAC is discussing with its legal team whether we should join the class action suit, and allege the loss of untold man-hours while covering the saga, along with losses incurred due to spikes in bandwidth and the cost of purchasing two accelerator pedals.”

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    “Corporations are inherently profit maximizers, and would never spend the extra $1.05 per gadget to make an electrical component safe or fire resistant, or to incorporate a hand guard near a blade, or ensure that no toxic chemicals/paints were used in a child’s toy.”

    Never? Really? What a world view. Corporations do put in the extra effort if they want to be around a long time. Some even make safety the main focus so they can use it to beat the competition.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Geeber, I was one of the very first attorneys that I know of to endorse the concept of having all punitive damages flow into a fund to be used for the greater good in the future, rather than allowing any individual plaintiff what is often a deluge of money.

    As punitive damage awards intend to dissuade reprehensible behavior, that goal would not be upset by such a scheme.

    celica, I’ve sat across the deposition table from many foot soldiers and chiefs of the corporate world, and you clearly have much more faith in the goodness of corporate inclinations than I.

    • 0 avatar
      Civarlo

      When all the chips are down, I’d rather live in a nation run by businesspeople than one run by lawyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      I certainly don’t want to live in a world run by business people. Engineers, scientists, philosophers, attorneys, physicians, yes. Businessmen, no. When cars were put into production by engineers we had the Pierce Arrow. Now that cars are in production by businessmen we have the Chevy Cobalt. Enough said.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Now it just seems to me that with lawyers making requests like the one described in this article, they do this knowing FULL WELL that this will only add to the animosity and even downright hatred that the general public is feeling toward lawyers and the practice of law.

    Come on, the NHTSA doesn’t “approve”. Asking a jugde to disallow prompt repair of the problem until the NHTSA does something that it won’t do anyway?

    That’s viscious and wrong. Just admit it for crying out loud!

    You have to get it at this point. All of us regular joes just think you’re a a bunch of amoral (immoral?) sharks.

    Some of us can forgive the shark thing, especially if we have to hire one of you. But in my opinion, lawyers don’t stand up for what’s true and what’s right.

    Until some of you lawyers actually start speaking up and defending what’s right, then… to hell with all of you. I’ve been on a couple of juries. It breaks my heart that nobody stands up for right anymore, not even the lawyer defending what’s right in any given case. This is disgusting. I’m just fed up with the legal crap.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    The attorneys are doing the right thing in this case. Many engineers and safety experts believe that Toyota’s on board computer, instead of the accelerator pedal, is the cause of the runaway acceleration in these cars. Such suspicion is confirmed by cases where the vehicle took off when the accelerator was not depressed. This boxes Toyota into a corner to do the right recall. Business elitist types on this board, mouthpieces for big corporations, are quick to fallaciously attack the character of attorneys because they have never believed in any such thing as corporate responsibility.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    I am remiss for responding to what I believe the purpose of this requested injunction is in my earlier posts.

    It’s my belief that the attorneys requesting the injunction are attempting to preserve evidence of what is an allege design and/or manufacturing defect in the brake pedal assemblies in question. If Toyota were to execute a recall on all affected models, there would be a great deal of “spoilation” of evidence, and there would be an added complexity in the event that the shim sham temp fix didn’t successfully alleviate the issue in all cases (but rather, merely cut down on incidences of runaway Toyotas).

    • 0 avatar

      So you are insinuating the the two law firms intentionally asked the court to rule that recalled Toyotas may not be fixed until the NHTSA will approve the fix, which the NHTSA never will, because the NHTSA is not allowed to “approve” a fix? Is your drift that the lawyers knew that???

      Up until now, I just believed that it was bad lawyering, and that the firms were not familiar with NHTSA arcana. Now, we are to believe that it was intentional?

      Good grief.

      If that would indeed be the case, then it would be a huge blackmail attempt: Settle, or we’ll take millions of your cars away from people.

      I don’t think you were remiss in answering that point. You most likely hoped people wouldn’t notice.

      If it really is the intent to “preserve evidence,” then the crashed cars, and the cars where people complained are impounded. Not all Toyotas affected by the recall. This would be lawyers running amok.

  • avatar

    And yet, with all the drama and anger in these comments – and indeed the media – regarding Toyota and mysterious throttle issues caused by either stuck floor mats, binding pedals, or now phantom electronic interference, ONE HUNDRED TIMES MORE PEOPLE DIE EVERY YEAR BECAUSE OF SOMEONE USING A CELL PHONE BEHIND THE WHEEL.

    According to a Harvard study, over 2,000 people are killed in the United States EVERY YEAR because of distraction from a cell phone. More than 300,000 are injured on top of this.

    Where is the outrage for this? Where are the class action lawsuits claiming Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry and Apple be banned from selling their products until such time as the NHTSA approves a manner which removes this risk from the roads? Where are the attorneys standing up for justice for those who were brutally maimed or otherwise met their untimely demise because a driver was yapping/texting on a cell phone or dicking with an iPod?

    Distracted driving is responsible for something like 3X the deaths and injuries caused by DRUNK DRIVERS, yet there is no public cry over this?

    Personal responsibility died in America long ago. 19 people, out of more than 5 MILLION owners have died because of acceleration issues in a Toyota. Here’s a thought: If you pull onto a public roadway in a vehicle, you are responsible for the safe operation of that vehicle at all times. If you are incapable of pressing the brake pedal, shifting into neutral, or plain turning the ignition off and taking your chances with the locked steering wheel, then YOU are liable, as YOU are unqualified to operate a motor vehicle.

    This is dumb.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    I’m sticking to my manual tranny’s.

  • avatar
    Misterbumbles

    I looked at the picture of the Lexus’ shifter that was involved in the tragic accident involving the highway patrolman and his family. I was under the impression that it was more “complex” than the ordinary Toyota shifter. Not so.

    It’s identical to the one in my 2010 Matrix.

    He should have been able to stop the car, but was obviously quite unfamiliar with the car or the shifter somehow got stuck. I know that by experience, they can be literally nudged into neutral without any effort. He could also have moved the lever to the left and gone into “S” shifter mode and manually downshifted the transmission if he noticed the car beginning to accelerate on its own.

    Anyway, I think it comes down to a lot of drivers not being highly versed or skilled in operating their vehicles interms of emergency procedures. I know, I would have made that shifter move, regardless of what damage it might inflict on the car’s tranny or engine.

    Regardless, it was a terrible and sad event.

  • avatar

    Almost a year has gone by and everything has been forgoten. Toyota is as good as new.


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