An Oklahoma County jury returned a multimillion-dollar verdict against Toyota on Thursday in a lawsuit alleging a car's unexpected acceleration led to a fatal traffic accident.
The jury awarded $1.5 million in actual damages to Jean Bookout, 82, of Yukon, who was hurt in the crash on Sept. 20, 2007, near Lake Eufaula. The family of Barbara Schwarz, 70, of Yukon, who died from injuries suffered in the crash, also was awarded $1.5 million.
The jury found that the company acted with “reckless disregard” for the rights of others, setting up a separate trial phase Friday to determine whether punitive damages are warranted.
District Judge Patricia Parrish told attorneys not to speak publicly about the case until after the punitive damages phase. Citing the judge's statement, the company withheld comment.
In closing arguments, plaintiffs' attorneys argued that a defect in the 2005 Camry electronics system caused unexpected acceleration, which led to the crash on U.S. 69 and Texanna Road in McIntosh County.
Plaintiffs' attorneys also argued that there was a companywide cover-up of the mechanical defect.
Jurors did not agree, finding that Toyota had not been deceitful in its business practices.
Lawyers for Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. maintain that the crash resulted from driver error and that no conclusive problems with the car's computer have been proven by investigations or in vehicle testing.
If you owe under $729k you may qualify for 3.05% APR Govt Refi Plans.