Immediately after a jury found the Japanese carmaker accountable and ordered it to pay $3 million for defects that led to a 2007 fatal crash, Toyota reached a deal to settle the lawsuit over unintended acceleration issues.
A jury in Oklahoma on Thursday said the company must pay $3 million in compensatory damages to Jean Bookout, a driver injured in the 2007 crash, and the family of Barbara Schwarz, who died. Jurors were also ready to deliberate on Friday if punitive damages against Toyota must also be awarded. Toyota and lawyers for the plaintiffs announced they had reached a confidential agreement to settle the dispute.
“While we strongly disagree with the verdict, we are satisfied that the parties reached a mutually acceptable agreement to settle this case,” Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner said in a statement.
“We are fully convinced that Toyota’s conduct from the time the electronic throttle control system was designed has been shameful,” Portis said in a statement. “We appreciate that the jury had the courage to let Toyota and the public know that Toyota was reckless,” commented a plaintiffs lawyer.
The case is the first major loss for Toyota in the early trials over acceleration issues, which prompted hundreds of lawsuits across the country after the recalls. The 2005 Camry at issue in the Oklahoma trial was not even included in the recalls.