Toyota settles Oklahoma suit after jury issues $3 million verdict

Article by Anita Panait, on October 28, 2013

Toyota Motor Corp. has settled a lawsuit that resulted to a $3 million jury verdict over a claim that a defect in a Camry resulted to unintentional acceleration and eventually led to an accident that caused the death of Barbara Schwarz and injury to Jean Bookout. An Oklahoma City jury recently awarded $1.5 million for each claim and was set to consider punitive damages on October 25.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Cole Portis said in a statement that the terms of the settlement are confidential.  The Oklahoma City lawsuit is one of many filed against the Japanese carmaker in state and federal courts in the United States.

The suits claim that Toyota’s vehicles can unintentionally accelerate. The Oklahoma City lawsuit is also the first test of a claim that a flaw in the vehicles’ electronic throttle-control system is at fault.

Portis remarked that “Toyota’s conduct from the time the electronic throttle control system was designed has been shameful,” adding they are hoping that the carmaker will recall all questionable vehicles and install a computer that will be safe.

Bookout was exiting from an Oklahoma highway when her 2005 Camry sped out of control, according to her lawyer Jere L. Beasley. 

Bookout couldn’t stop the car, resulting to a crash that injured her and killed her passenger and friend Schwarz. Toyota denied the existence of defects in Bookout’s Camry. The state court jury, however, rejected Toyota’s defense.

Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner said in a statement that while they strongly disagree with the verdict, they are satisfied that the parties were able to reach “a mutually acceptable agreement to settle this case.”

Topics: toyota

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