According to a California federal judge ruling, the Japanese company must go to trial after claims that it failed to warn the public about design defects that led certain vehicles to accelerate unintentionally.
US District Judge James Selna in the Central District of California denied Toyota’s motion to stop defective-design and failure-to-warn claims fromthe estate of Ida St. John, who back in 2009 testified that her 2005 Camry was out of control when it hit a school building. St. John said the car accelerated without driver input. The trial, slated to begin November 5, is among the first in a huge wave of litigation on the Toyota acceleration issues that caused a global recall. The first ever federal sudden-acceleration case that went on trial in 2011 had Toyota as the winner.
A spokeswoman for Toyota, Amanda Rice, commented in a statement on Tuesday that St. John didn’t prove the vehicle was among the defective ones, with the company “confident the evidence at trial will confirm that Toyota drivers can depend on their vehicles to provide safe, reliable transportation.”
“It’s time for a jury to hear about the defects that we’ve been studying over the past three years,” said Todd Walburg, one of the plaintiffs lawyers.
Since the recall, more than 500 individual and 200 proposed class-action lawsuits have been filed against Toyota in US federal and state courts, with data cited from a regulatory filing coming from the Japanese automaker.