U.S. District Judge James V. Selna has dismissed the first unintended acceleration lawsuit against Toyota in California on the grounds that it should have been filed in Utah. Automotive News reports that the case was brought to court by the families of two people killed in a Utah crash in 2010.
Judge Selna found that a federal warranty claim in the lawsuit failed to meet a required threshold of $50,000. The warranty claim was levied toward the dealer that sold the vehicle, and since the judge ruled that the plaintiffs couldn't use personal injury or punitive damages in warranty claim, the lawsuit fell short of the threshold. That meant that the case fell back under Utah jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Mark Robinson, the plaintiffs' attorney, said that he's already working to draft another complaint that leaves the dealer out as a defendant altogether. Doing so will allow the suit to go forward seeking full punitive damages. The suit alleges that Toyota failed to install a brake override system or otherwise prevent unintended acceleration. The case is thought to be a litmus test for similar suits around the country.


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  • 17 Comments
      illnever tell
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The suit alleges that Toyota failed to install a brake override system or otherwise prevent unintended acceleration." And I might be wrong here but, the way I hear it, wouldn't a "brake override system" imply that the brake is being overridden? This lawsuit will probably fail because it's assuming that Toyota had the duty to install one. That's like suing a car company for not putting in more airbags than the minimum required or not installing active headlights because it's safer. All Toyota has to do is ensure that their cars don't malfunction, not assume they are building cars that do and/or selling them to drivers that also do and installing preventative measures for incompetency on either end.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      kmanning83
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ugh. The sooner Toyota can put this media witch-hunt behind them the better.
      Andrew
      • 3 Years Ago
      MorE like im gonna sue this company even tho i slammed on accelerate instead and because lawyers are digusingting ambulance chasers
      Zumreed
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have lost my faith in Toyota. :(
      Brex
      • 3 Years Ago
      AB deleted my comment on the Gl u cker firing that had a link to Jal o pnik article that was critical of them and Huffington so I'm saying goodbye. AB is a second-rate auto blog and I've lost any faith I had in them.
      narconethree
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mr. Robinson Case Dismissed Due To Your Client Being Subject To Natural Selection. Or More Specifically Not Knowing How To Place The Gear Selector In Neutral.
        IBx27
        • 3 Years Ago
        @narconethree
        You only need to capitalize pronouns and the first letter of each sentence. In a computer-based car, putting the shifter in N is only asking a haywire computer to do something, to which it replies "banzai."
      Anthony
      • 3 Years Ago
      My personal experience with an FJ Cruiser, as reported to the NHTSA below, may be of interest to anyone thinking of buying a Toyota. This was the first incident. The 2nd incident occured last week. Entered on 07/04/2010 at 06:44:26 EDT (GMT-0400) by nhtsa.webmaster@dot.gov: Subject: Toyota 2007 FJ Cruiser Stuck Accelerator Comments: I own a 2007 FJ Cruiser. I live in RI. I have a degree in mechanical engineering and a law degree. On Monday I was accelerating down an on-ramp. When I reached 50mph I had to "punch" the gas pedal to avoid a tractor trailer. When i took my foot off the gas pedal the pedal stayed stuck to the floor. I pumped the brake a few times and nothing happened. I moved the shifter to neutral, but the truck did not drop out of gear. The truck was still accelerating at full throttle. I moved the shifter forward and back, probably thru several gears and nothing happened. I tried to feel around the base of the gas pedal for obstructions. I also hit the gas pedal with the ball of my foot about 3 times but it did not move. Finally I moved my foot around the side of the pedal and began kicking it. I believe the pedal came unstuck at this point and the truck dropped into neutral and i was able to slow down. Fortunately I did not hit anything. Toyota Corp. told me to drive the car to the dealer the next day. The dealer said they would be able to retrieve data from the onboard computer, showing position of the pedal and shifter, among other things. Later the same day they said the car was ready for pickup and there was nothing wrong with it. They also told me there was no data available on the computer, which they told me meant nothing went wrong. They also told me if I shifted the car into neutral while the accelerator was depressed,the computer would record and "event" They alsotold me if I moved the shifter to neutral the truck would shift to neutral - without fail. In essence, they told me I was lying. Finally they told me there was nothing else they could do. I called Toyota corporation several times and they told me there was nothing more they could do. The floor mat was unhooked and may have been a contributing factor, but no one has been able to demonstrate to me how the floor mat could cause the gas pedal to be stuck in a completely depressed position. Now i am concerned that there are not only problems with accelerator but also with the onboard computer which the dealer claims did not record any "events" I am at a loss as to what to do next. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Anthony
      • 3 Years Ago
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      • 3 Years Ago
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