Toyota Motor Corp. has settled what was to be the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving Sudden Unintended Acceleration by Toyota vehicles. Toyota reached the settlement in the case brought by the family of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd. They were killed when their Toyota Camry crashed into a wall in Utah in 2010. The remaining lawsuits weren’t affected by the settlement.
In December, Toyota agreed to a settlement worth more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming economic losses Toyota owners suffered when the Japanese automaker recalled millions of vehicles. Hundreds more lawsuits involving wrongful death and injury remain.
The Van Alfen case was to be the first of those tried, and to serve as a bellwether for the rest. It had been set to go to trial in February. A second bellwether case is scheduled for May. Toyota settled a previous wrongful death lawsuit for $10 million in 2010 before the current cases were consolidated in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. In the earlier case, a California Highway Patrol officer and three of his family members were killed in suburban San Diego in 2009 after their car, a Toyota-built Lexus, reached speeds of more than 120 mph, hit an SUV, launched off an embankment, rolled several times, and burst into flames.
Investigators determined that a wrong-size floor mat trapped the accelerator and caused the crash. That discovery, whether correct or not, spurred a series of recalls involving more than 14 million vehicles and a flood of lawsuits soon followed, with numerous complaints of accelerations in several models, and brake defects with the Prius hybrid. Toyota has blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and stuck accelerator pedals for the problems. We have always believed that there was another cause that contributed to the problem.
In the accident that resulted in the recently settled case, Van Alfen was driving the Camry an Interstate highway near Wendover, Utah, on Nov. 5, 2010, when his car suddenly accelerated. Skid marks showed that Van Alfen tried to stop the vehicle as it exited the interstate, according to police. The car went through a stop sign at the bottom of the ramp and through an intersection before hitting the wall. Van Alfen and Ms. Lloyd, his son’s fiancée, were killed. Van Alfen’s wife and son were injured. Bob Krause, a very good lawyer with the Spence law, firm represented the Plaintiffs in the two cases and he did a tremendous job for his clients.
Source: NBC News
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.