• Apr 3, 2011
Toyota faces hundreds of lawsuits for accidents involving unintended acceleration, but the automaker needs only to win them one at a time. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Toyota has done exactly that, as a New York jury ruled that the automaker was not responsible for an accident involving Dr. Amir Sitafalwalla.

Sitafalwalla claimed that his 2005 Scion tC accelerated on its own either through a throttle problem or a faulty floor mat, causing him to run into a tree. The jury didn't see it that way. Penny Overbeck, one of the jurors on the case, says that Toyota's extensive testing played a role in her decision, adding, "They had it all on video. It pretty much explained it."

This is just one case in what will doubtless be a protracted legal process for Toyota, but it's an important victory nonetheless. It'll be tough for Toyota to win them all, though, since the automaker did recall millions of vehicles for stuck brake pedals and defective floor mats. Sitafalwalla and his legal team are currently considering an appeal of the decision.

[Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek]


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  • 21 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is all a lie. Toyota is covering up. I just purchased a 2011 jeep grand cherokee, with the same sudden acceleration problems. Umm , its no floor mat or driver error, its the throttle sensor pedal sensor , ungreased connectors, now its the harness. Chrysler is covering up and in denial just like toyota, someone needs to step up to the plate and take the blame. This car almost killed me 3 times by accelerating through intersections , and everytime the dealer assured me they fixed the problem. liars and murderers. come clean already!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Amazing how in 2005 when that Scion was builit no one was filing suit, amazing 6 years later after some other incidents people decide that because they failed at life, they should blame someone else.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Welcome to America.
      • 3 Years Ago
      When new, my '06 Miata's clutch pedal would nip at the factory mat when released. No biggie, but a minute with a razor blade cured it. This kind of thing happens occasionally.
      And, I don't have a throttle delay that was caused by dashpots in carbureted cars of days gone by and required for emissions purposes.
      • 3 Years Ago
      For the cases that Toyota wins which will probably be most of 'em ... will the the BIG T file / persue to have the plaintiffs cover the associated legal costs ??

      They should ...

      Naturally, the cases Toyota losses they will / should cover the costs for the plaintiffs.
        • 3 Years Ago
        shane: "Naturally, the cases Toyota losses they will / should cover the costs for the plaintiffs."

        Depending on what was decided and where it was decided, what Toyota won should act to collaterally estop most other litigation. If there was a finding that the cars didn't have a defective accelerator, anyone who's sued on a defective accelerator theory will lose.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is it because of this dumb suckers brake pedals in auto cars are much higher than gas pedals? This step makes it very difficult to move your foot between the pedals, you have to raise your leg.
      Taggart
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's true that there were sporadic problems, but the stuck pedals are an issue that has plagued many other automakers, and Toyota has been quicker to fix the issue and any other possible issue since. Having said that, the media certainly overblew Toyota's issues: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/feb2011/bw20110210_848076.htm
      • 3 Years Ago
      The vultures are always circling around any entity with deep pockets. Personally I would always prefer not being injured to sharing compensation with the vultures. I fear that jurys can be much too ready to give away someone else's money. In this case the system worked. It doesn't always.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Right decision by the Jury.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good thing Toyota has the cash reserves to do this 1 @ a time.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The floor mats in my 2005 tC were hooked to the floor so they couldn't move. It'd have been mighty difficult for the mat to cause the gas pedal to stick.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Our 09 Lexus IS250 (automatic) has one piece of inexcusable ECU programming, similar to what got Audi into trouble. In cold weather before the engine is fully warm, to improve emissions and keep the CATS lit (my assumption), the idle will go from an initial 700rpm, up to 1050rpm *AFTER COMING TO A STOP*. You pull up to a stop light, idle drops to a normal 700rpm, then ramps up after 2 seconds. It could easily cause the car to lurch forward, if your foot isn't on the brake enough to counteract the increased torque. If the engine isn't able to keep the cat lit at idle, why doesn't the engine just settle to that high idle? Piss poor engineering on that one issue. I can see this leading to yet another recall on the IS.




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