By on October 8, 2013

Toyota won two out of four of his decisions, but U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled that Toyota still must go to trial for an unexpected-acceleration case filed in federal court, according to a report by Bloomberg.


Judge Selna threw out manufacturing defect and negligence claims but affirmed his earlier tentative decision to allow a claims based on alleged design defects and a failure by Toyota to warn Camry drivers about known dangers to proceed to trial. “Plaintiff has raised triable issues of fact that would allow a reasonable jury to find in his favor,” the judge said in his written ruling. In 2009, Ida Starr St. John, then 83 years old, was hurt when her 2005 Camry crashed. St. John has since died and her family is pursuing the litigation. This is the first personal injury and wrongful death case to go to trail over Toyota’s supposed unintended acceleration of those cases already consolidated in federal court.

The lawsuits were sparked by Toyota recalls in 2009 and 2010 and the company has already settled economic loss claims with a ~$1.6 billion agreement. St. John’s ’05 Camry was not subject to any of those recalls.

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20 Comments on “Federal Judge Rules Toyota Must Go to Trial in Camry Unexpected Acceleration Lawsuit...”

  • avatar

    Can Toyota, in turn, sue all the Geriatric drivers of Toyota Camries who confused the right and left pedals and rammed their cars into convenience stores?

    • 0 avatar

      Ohhhh man, you’re gonna hurt a lot of feelings in the “it can’t possibly be MY fault” crowd (aka nitwits who believe that cars are possessed by mysterious, high tech demons).

      • 0 avatar

        I still maintain the gene pool is better off without those too stupid to not know how “N” works still populating the planet.

        • 0 avatar

          Ah, but the gear shift lever was frozen – another defect – although they’re designed not to be operable unless the driver’s foot is on the brake. Toyota’s lawyers could have made hay with that, if Toyota hadn’t followed Japanese custom and apologized prematurely. Why their lawyers haven’t tried to puncture the Deer-In-The-Headlights defense by questioning the non-use of the emergency brake and not trying to turn off the engine is also a puzzlement. Last I heard, the driver is supposed to be in control of the car and its mechanicals at all times, or take a cab.

          • 0 avatar

            “…although they’re designed not to be operable unless the driver’s foot is on the brake.”

            not true.

            And you don’t even have to push a button to slap it into “N”.

        • 0 avatar

          But… if only… if only there were a THIRD pedal perhaps.. one that, when pushed, instantly put the car into neutral no matter what gear it was in!

          …if only… sigh…

    • 0 avatar

      Wait, I thought Camry buyers were supposed to be the “smart” ones for purchasing a Camry in the 1st place?

      Seems like Toyota is sending conflicting messages.

  • avatar

    My next car will be a Sienna.
    My 2nd next car will either be an Avalon or GS. Not decided yet.

    • 0 avatar

      No whoop dee-doo Camry like the commercial for you?

    • 0 avatar

      Do they produce water vapor?

      Still waiting for your link to your claimed $10K cash on the hood for Buick Verano. Give me a link on a new 2013 or 2014 Verano Turbo with $10K on the hood, as you claimed, ANYWHERE in the lower 48, and I will buy it tomorrow.

      • 0 avatar

        I saw your original post but didn’t think it was aimed at me.

        It’s $8,000 off msrp for a 2013 Turbo VERANO with 4-6,000 miles on yahoo auto. Save $400 and forgo CPO crap. The automatic Turbo has seen 34-36 mpg on 87 octane, about 70 horspower than a Camry 4 banger gettimg similar mpg, the manual transmission sees well into 40+ mpg range besting Camry Hybrid. Throw on a $300 Trifecta tune and clean the clock of any new Japanese car this side of the GT-R.

        • 0 avatar

          wsn said new with $10K on the hood – I’ve asked and he hasn’t provided a link. I will never buy a dealer demo with pre-first oil change mileage again. No way of knowing how dogged out it was.

          But if $10K off of a new one exists, like wsn said they do, I’d want a manual and the Trifecta tune. Would be a nice addition to the motor pool for under $20K.

        • 0 avatar

          Real-world mileage stats from Fuelly does not support that the Verano gets better MPG than a Camry hybrid. Not even close.

          Let me guess…you heard it from a friend of a friend of a friend?

  • avatar

    I should buy a Toyota so I can ram the next person who cuts me off… Then sue Toyota…

    And nothing of value would be lost!

  • avatar

    They’ll probably push the lack of a brake override feature as a defect. If Toyota loses though in theory any make without an override could get sued.

  • avatar

    The problem for Toyota is that its primary defense is to argue that the drivers sucked. As Audi discovered, drivers tend not to be sympathetic to such arguments, even when those arguments happen to be correct.

  • avatar

    From what I can see, this ruling is no big deal. It is very difficult to get summary judgment – you have to convince a judge that you have an overwhelming case on the merits, and that the other side has virtually no chance of winning at trial. And you need to do this before a single witness has testified, or been cross-examined.

    Judges are (rightly) very reluctant to grant summary pre-trial judgment motions. Which lawyers know.

    I suspect that Toyota never expected to win this motion – that it was a message to the plaintiffs’ lawyers that they are very confident about their prospects (and, if the plaintiffs’ lawyers are acting on contingency) to force the plaintiss’ lawyers to spend a lot of time and money that they’d much prefer not to.

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