Federal Judge Rules Toyota Must Go to Trial in Camry Unexpected Acceleration Lawsuit

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff

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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  • 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!

  • Ion Ion on Oct 08, 2013

    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.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Oct 08, 2013

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Brenschluss Brenschluss on Oct 09, 2013

      @Ion Give them credit, they gave it a shot.

  • Ect Ect on Oct 08, 2013

    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.