Beasley Allen Report host Gibson Vance welcomes Beasley Allen Law Firm founder Jere L. Beasley to the program to discuss a recent landmark jury verdict in a case of wrongful death and serious injury linked to Toyota sudden unintended acceleration. Toyota recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 after reports that sudden unintended acceleration resulted in crashes involving serious injury and death. Toyota blamed the problem on faulty floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals and even driver error. But the real problem all along has been a defective electronic throttle control system (ETCS). Mr. Beasley says Toyota knew before the first recalls that there was a problem with the ETCS, as early as 2004. “When you go back and look at the beginning of this problem, they knew about the problem, that’s the real tragedy,” Beasley says. “Toyota knew.” The jury in the recent case tried in Oklahoma City determined that defects in the Camry’s electronic throttle control system were directly responsible for a 2005 Camry’s sudden acceleration and resulting crash where the driver was seriously injured and a passenger killed. The jury in that case returned a multi-million dollar compensatory damages award and determined that punitive damages were warranted. However, the case was settled before the jurors had a chance to determine the amount of punitive damages to be awarded. The amount of that settlement was confidential.
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