In addition to the death and personal injury cases, our firm has also filed three separate class action lawsuits against Toyota. The first Complaint, seeking class action status, was filed on behalf of over 5 million Toyota owners whose vehicles have been recalled by Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. That suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. We charge Toyota in the Complaint with breach of warranty, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment and breach of the covenant of good faith. Until recently, Toyota has clearly downplayed or dismissed owner complaints of sudden unintended acceleration.
A second lawsuit, seeking class action status, was filed in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Alabama on behalf of Toyota owners. The allegations in this case are similar to those in the Florida case. This case was assigned to Judge Mark Fuller.
The third suit was filed on behalf of more than 500,000 Toyota Prius and Lexus Hybrid owners whose vehicles have been recalled by Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. That lawsuit, also filed in the Middle District of Alabama against Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., charges Toyota with breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, breach of implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Complaint alleges Toyota concealed facts relating to the defects in the accelerator braking system. This case, which was originally assigned to another judge, has been reassigned to Judge Fuller.
Dee Miles, who heads our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Class Action Section, will be working with lawyers Brian W. Smith in Florida, Joe R. Whatley in New York and Howard Rubinstein in Colorado. I will also be involved in these cases. It’s difficult to comprehend how Toyota, knowing about these defects long before they even issued a recall, continued to market the vehicles as safe and reliable. That’s inexcusable and can’t be tolerated.
As stated above, our firm is also handling individual claims, where deaths or severe injuries and disabilities are involved. The first such case was filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma, on behalf of Plaintiffs, Jean Bookout and Charles Schwarz, against Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc., and DUB Richardson Toyota. This suit involves a case of sudden, unintended acceleration of a 2005 Toyota Camry, which resulted in serious injury and death.
According to Sean Kane, an independent automotive safety expert and founder of Safety Research and Strategies, Inc., a tremendous number of deaths and injuries can be attributed to 815 separate crashes involving Toyotas that accelerated suddenly and unexpectedly. The latest death count was at 42 according to our information. At last count, 2,262 incidents involving unintended acceleration had been reported since 1999. I suspect the number is actually much higher. In many crashes, the excessive speed of the driver, who was killed, was believed by investigating officers to have caused the crash. In fact, many of these crashes may well have been the result of a sudden high speed acceleration.
Graham Esdale, Greg Allen, Cole Portis, Ben Baker and I will be working on the individual client claims. We are being contacted on virtually a daily basis with requests to investigate crashes that are believed to be caused by sudden high speed acceleration problems.
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