Toyota found liable in U.S. for fatal crash caused by unintended acceleration

NEW YORK Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:29am IST

A sign with a logo is on display at a Toyota car sales and showroom in St. Petersburg, September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk/Files

A sign with a logo is on display at a Toyota car sales and showroom in St. Petersburg, September 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk/Files

Stocks

   

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp has been found liable in an unintended acceleration lawsuit in the U.S., one of the first such cases to go to trial since the Japanese carmaker began recalling millions of vehicles in 2009 over acceleration issues.

A jury in Oklahoma on Thursday awarded $3 million in compensatory damages to Jean Bookout, a driver injured in a 2007 crash, and the family of Barbara Schwarz, who was killed.

The lawsuit claimed defects caused Bookout's 2005 Camry to accelerate unexpectedly, leading to the crash. Deliberations will resume on Friday to determine punitive damages.

The case, one of hundreds brought by individuals across the country claiming that their Toyota vehicles accelerated without warning, is the first to result in a verdict against the carmaker.

In two previous cases to reach trial, one in California and one in New York, juries found in Toyota's favor.

Toyota representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs declined to comment, citing a gag order imposed by the judge.

There have been approximately 200 proposed class actions and more than 500 individual cases filed against Toyota since February 2009 over the alleged acceleration issues, according to a recent company regulatory filing.

The Oklahoma lawsuit claimed the Camry accelerated suddenly on September 20, 2007, while Bookout was driving along an interstate highway and that applying both the brake and the emergency brake did nothing to slow it down.

The 2005 Camry model was not included in the acceleration-related recalls.

Toyota has already agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle class-action claims from owners over economic losses suffered because of the alleged defects. But that deal did not cover individual injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Economic Pulse

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty hits record high above 8,600; state-run lenders gain  Full Article 

Indian in Iraq

Indian in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Essar Group

Essar Group

Exclusive - Essar's planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Oil hits new four-year low post OPEC as glut looms  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage