Toyota is surely readying its trial lawyers, as the Japanese giant is officially headed to court in a pair of cases relating to its unintended acceleration fiascos of 2009 and 2010.

In the first case, the United States Supreme Court has actually got involved in matters, ignoring an appeal from Toyota that attempted to use an arbitrator to settle its California lawsuits. The automaker will now go to trial to face owners of 2010 Prius models over an alleged defect with the anti-lock braking systems, which plaintiffs say made the cars more difficult to stop, according to Bloomberg.

The second trial is a bit more in depth, covering the case of Ida St. John, an 83-year-old from Georgia, that crashed her 2005 Camry in 2009. The accident is believed to have played a part in her death, although the suit, being filed by her grandson, doesn't actually place blame on Toyota for her death.

St. John's grandson filed suit against Toyota accusing it of negligence, that there was a design and manufacturing defect with the car and that Toyota failed to warn owners about the car's problem. While Toyota moved to dismiss the case, US District Judge upheld the charges over the design defect and Toyota's failure to inform customers, while dismissing the manufacturing defect claim and negligence.

Where St. John's case gets tricky is when you look at its model year - the 2005 Camry was not subject to any unintended acceleration recalls. According to Bloomberg, this is the first of Toyota's consolidated personal injury and wrongful death suits to go to trial in federal court.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      Arizonarelax
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not sure about this. I understand that certain combinations can trigger unusual results as these vehicles are software/ sensor driven not cable. Toyota admitted that much and also directed their dealers to cut the gas pedal in half- I guess that was their hardware change? It will be interesting if Toyota is asked to bring forth what changes to their software occurred, if any, after the unfortunate reported incidents to court. That being said, I agree to better driver education - that includes information from the manufacturer as well, such as holding the start/stop button for three (3) seconds to kill the engine. Operation of newer cars has changed. Each manufacturer is probably different. At this point, I will submit both the consumer and manufacturer must do a better job in understanding how a new vehicle is operated.
        brandon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Arizonarelax
        You expect salesman, who typically don't even have a high school diploma, to actually do due diligence and tell people simple things such as that. Yeah right. They make their 500 and go on to the next person. That being said, people should learn and be familiar with the deadly machines that they are operating. I'm sorry people died, but I'm 100% sure they were all driver error and not some bogeyman in the car.
          Arizonarelax
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          Brandon - read your first sentence. What high school did you graduate from?
          Arizonarelax
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          Brandon - Great, I am pleased you have a degree in engineering. What type of engineering? There is always a human side you need to factor in for machines to operate efficiently and effectively with humans to help prevent "deadly" driver errors. But as an engineer, I am sure I am telling you something you learned in class and are well aware of. Sorry you don't care about the English language. This is the USA and is the language that is written and spoken in this country. Maybe take some time to understand the language, practice writing and the point or points you are trying to make will become more clear to those reading and listening to you. Who knows, it may even help you by offering greater insight on how to communicate to prevent the human driver errors you speak of. Because we all know hardware or code never have any issues with the "bogeyman" or software bugs.
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          Doesn't matter. I have a degree in engineering. I could care less about the english language.
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          I have a BSME. Also, the preventatives for human side errors have been implemented. That's what the brake kill switches are for. I know toyota was late to this party, but that doesn't excuse the people from a lack of driving skills. Those kill switches were implemented as a redundancy to help stop the idiot drivers from killing themselves. Next, I feel like if computers, albeit human made and programmed, were that bad, then we would have many more planes falling out of the air. Small hiccups in technology are still no excuse for a lack of driver education. That's where all of these UA claims stem from. No matter what else, the brakes can override full throttle if they were applied. Also, that doesn't even account for the fact that these cars could have been put into neutral and safely slowed to a stop. I'm not saying that these weren't a software or hardware failure, but without replication you can't find a root cause.
      HydraulicDragon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let me solve all of your unattended acceleration issues. Shift to neutral. Annnnnnd done.
      bubba_roe
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I ever crash my Chevy I think Ill claim unintended acceleration.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      beanrew
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh please!!!! I love my country, but this is out of control. user error, move on, and focus more on driver education in the elderly, not blaming your faults on a manufacturer.
        3pipes-
        • 1 Year Ago
        @beanrew
        I think the government should better set an age limit for drivers. People above 70 years old should be banned from driving and also create a course or degree that focuses on driving and whoever apply for drivers license should take that course as a prerequisite.
      Car Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Unintended Acceleration" is an allegation often used in the following circumstances: 1) The owner had an accident (usually while DUI) and is attempting to shift blame. 2) An ongoing dispute with the manufacturer/dealer over out of warranty repair costs. 3) Buyers remorse to get out of the vehicle/payment.
      Billyg75@comcast.net
      About time they quite stalling.
        brandon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Billyg75@comcast.net
        They quite stalling? What does that mean?
      SteveG
      • 1 Year Ago
      83 and you think the car was the problem here?
      Robert Fahey
      • 1 Year Ago
      So in a nutshell: - The judge tossed the case but didn't - The plaintiff is blaming Toyota but isn't - The 2005 Camry caused her death but didn't - SUA affected that car but didn't
      Mercer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seriously, Toyota sold more than 8 million vehicles per year. If there is any chance of "unintended acceleration", shouldn't they kill more than a handful around the globe? shouldn't some genius already figure out what's wrong?
        brandon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mercer
        Seriously, this is what bothers me the most about all this crap. NO ONE, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON, has figured out hot to replicate the issue. So until it is replicated, then how do we know there is an actual issue and people just can't drive? The latter seems like a more plausible scenario.
          SneakyE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          Toyota has replicated the issue: http://www.safetyresearch.net/toyota-sudden-unintended-acceleration/toyota-replicated-incidents/
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          I have no idea where that site came from, and I have never heard of it. Also, I would like to know how some advocacy website got a hold of some alleged "internal toyota documents". Now, http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Additional+Information+on+Toyota+Recalls+and+Investigations So please don't believe everything you read on the interwebs. Also, every manufacturer has had a sticky pedal or two. But you don't see them getting sued for billions. I don't even care for Toyota, but they aren't wrong here. The idiots driving the cars that died are. If you don't have the wherewithal to put the car in neutral and brake, then you don't need a license.
      SneakyE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just to head off all the user error comments. That may be the case for some or even the majority of the cases it doesn't rule out that fact that Toyota was able to replicate the problem http://www.safetyresearch.net/toyota-sudden-unintended-acceleration/toyota-replicated-incidents/
        Famsert
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SneakyE
        You'd have more credibility if your source wasn't a paid organization by the lawyers suing Toyota...
        b.rn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SneakyE
        There isn't just the supposed electronic issue, there's the known mechanical issue. Prior to the issue being raised in the US, Toyota recalled accelerator pedals in Europe, because they were physically sticking. After some initial denial, Toyota eventually confessed that similar issues existed in pedals sold in US vehicles. Chrysler sourced the same pedals and had similar problems. The difference being that Chrysler had already implemented brake override, minimizing the problem.
        Michael
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SneakyE
        You know who else "replicated" the unintended acceleration? ABC World News: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/11/abc-news-acknowledges-min_n_494831.html
      buckfeverjohnson
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have faith in our civil legal system. For example, the $100,000,000 burnt 83 year-old crotch from coffee lawsuit against McDonalds was reasonable. /end sarcasm
    • Load More Comments