Los Angeles-- Toyota Motor Corp. wasnít at fault in a fatal accident in which a 66-year-old woman crashed her 2006 Camry into a tree after it sped out of control in the wrong direction on a one-way road, a California jury said.
A Los Angeles jury Thursday found that there wasnít a defect in the Camry that contributed to the 2009 crash, rejecting the allegation that the absence of a brake-override system in the vehicle was to blame for the car speeding into oncoming traffic and crashing while driver Noriko Uno was trying to brake.
The jury instead pinned full liability on the driver of another vehicle that had crashed into Unoís car before the Camry sped out of control and awarded $10 million in damages to Unoís husband and son.
The Uno trial was a so-called bellwether case for about 85 personal-injury and wrongful-death lawsuits in California state court that were brought against the Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker in the wake of a series of recalls in 2009 and 2010 for possible sudden, unintended acceleration-related issues, including floor mats that could get stuck under the gas pedal and sticky pedals.
Toyota lawyers argued that the lack of a brake-override system in the Camry wasnít to blame for the accident because Uno didnít try to brake. Unoís medical condition, including diabetes, caused her to experience cognitive impairment after her car was struck by the other vehicle running a stop sign, Toyota said.
Garo Mardirossian, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, didnít immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment on the verdict.