Toyota's first unintended acceleration trial dismissed on technicality

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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