Lawyers from our firm have filed a significant lawsuit against Toyota that involves Toyota’s defective electronic throttle control system. The wrongful death claim was filed in Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, on behalf of the family of Robert Kitrys, who was killed July 20, 2013. Mr. Kitrys’ 2004 Toyota Camry suddenly and without warning surged out of control, accelerating at high speeds and he was unable to stop the vehicle. As the uncontrollable Camry approached an intersection and concrete barrier, Mr. Kitrys jumped from the vehicle. He received injuries that caused his death. Graham Esdale and Ben Baker, from our firm, along with Don Caminiti with Breslin and Breslin, in Hackensack, N.J., will handle the case for Mr. Kitrys’ family.
Mr. Kitrys was only two blocks from his house when the car suddenly surged toward a busy intersection at a major highway and he couldn’t stop it. The man jumped out of the car, but he was badly injured and died. This is a very tragic event, and one that could have been prevented had Toyota properly designed its electronic throttle control system that has been found to be defective in an Oklahoma court. The jurors in that case, Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp., found that Toyota had a reckless disregard for human life. Such recklessness caused Mr. Kitrys’ death in this case.
Toyota recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 after reports that sudden unintended acceleration resulted in crashes involving serious injury and death. However, Toyota never recalled the 2002 through 2006 model year Camrys. The software problems in a 2005 Camry resulted in a jury verdict against Toyota in the three-week Bookout trial held in Oklahoma about a month ago. The jury in that case returned a multi-million dollar compensatory damages award and determined that punitive damages were warranted. However, the case was settled before the jurors had a chance to determine the amount of punitive damages to be awarded. The amount of that settlement was confidential.
The jury in the Oklahoma City case also determined that defects in the Camry’s electronic throttle control system (ETCS) were directly responsible for the Camry’s sudden acceleration and resulting crash where the driver was seriously injured and a passenger killed. Toyota has long blamed the problem on faulty floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals and even driver error. But the real problem has been a defective electronic throttle control system.
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