Lawyers from Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. who successfully prosecuted the groundbreaking Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp. (CJ-2008-7969) lawsuit against Toyota for its defective electronic throttle control system have filed a wrongful death complaint in Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, on behalf of the family of Robert Kitrys, who was killed July 20, 2013. Mr. Kitrys’ 2004 Toyota Camry suddenly and without warning surged out of control and he was unable to stop the vehicle. As the uncontrollable Camry approached an intersection and concrete barrier, Mr. Kitrys jumped from the vehicle but received injuries that caused his death. Beasley Allen lawyer Graham Esdale, along with attorney Don Caminiti with Breslin and Breslin, P.A., in Hackensack, N.J., are representing Mr. Kitrys’ family in this case.
“Mr. Kitrys was only two blocks from his house when the car suddenly surged toward a busy intersection at a major highway and he couldn’t stop it,” Esdale says. “He jumped out of the car but was badly injured and died. It is a very tragic event, and one that could have been prevented had Toyota properly designed its electronic throttle control system that was found to be defective in court. The jurors in Bookout found that Toyota had a reckless disregard for human life. Such recklessness caused Mr. Kitrys’ death.”
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. However, Toyota never recalled the 2002 through 2006 model year Camrys. The software problems in a 2005 Camry resulted in a jury verdict against Toyota in the three-week Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp. trial held in Oklahoma about a month ago. 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.
The jury in the Oklahoma City case also determined that defects in the Camry’s electronic throttle control system (ETCS) were directly responsible for the Camry’s sudden acceleration and resulting crash where the driver was seriously injured and a passenger killed. Toyota has long blamed the problem on faulty floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals and even driver error. But the real problem has been a defective electronic throttle control system. The upcoming case is Kitrys v. Toyota, Docket No. BER-L-9022-13.