A lawsuit has been filed against Toyota Motor Corp., BP America Inc. and others, claiming their actions contributed to a March fire at a gasoline pump that killed a young man. The wrongful-death and product liability action filed in Philadelphia by Lisa Rickenbach claims that defects in the gas pumps and the Toyota vehicle, a Yaris that her son, Luther David Byers, was driving, contributed to his death.
It’s also alleged that the gas station in a Harrisburg, Penn. suburb should not have been operating without an attendant on duty. The fire occurred at about 3 a.m. The coroner says that the 19-year-old died when he suffocated from hot gas generated by the fire. A state police fire marshal said the fire was sparked by static electricity. There is security camera footage of the fire which should help clarify exactly what happened.
Among the other 13 Defendants are entities associated with Toyota and BP, the gas station franchisee and the company that manufactured the gas pump nozzle. The victim, who planned on a career in law enforcement, had been working at FedEx. Stewart Eisenberg, a lawyer with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., located in Pennsylvania, who represented the Plaintiff, had this to say:
There have been hundreds of similar fires in the United States. The oil and gas industry, and the automotive industry, are well aware of this phenomenon that’s been going on for many years. It’s certainly something that they know about and they don’t warn people about or warn them sufficiently.
Our firm has handled several lawsuits involving deaths and serious injuries resulting from fires caused by defective gasoline pumps. But we have never had a case where an automobile was also a contributing factor in a fire. It will be interesting to see how this case develops.
Source: Associated Press
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