Case Alleging Electronics Defect to be First Test Trial for Unintended Acceleration
A federal judge has selected a case involving alleged defects in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system as the first test trial for multidistrict litigation claims of sudden unintended acceleration. The judge set February 2013 as the start date for the trial.
U.S. District Court Judge James Selna of Santa Ana, Calif., selected a case involving the Nov. 5, 2010 crash of a 2008 Camry into a wall in Utah. The driver, Paul Van Alfen, was killed along with a passenger, Charlene Lloyd. Van Alfen’s wife and son were injured in the crash. The families claim that the Camry had a defect that caused it to accelerate suddenly and fail to stop when Van Allen applied the brakes. They also claim Toyota should have installed a brake override system.
Selna selected the case from among six proposed by the lawyers for the plaintiffs and Toyota to serve as the bellwether trial for future trials. Selna is presiding over the numerous personal injury cases combined under federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) rules to expedite evidence gathering and pre-trial rulings. The Van Alfen case was one of three submitted by the plaintiffs’ counsel.
In response to the judge’s selection of the case, Toyota issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that the initial bellwether will address Plaintiffs’ central allegation of an unnamed, unproven defect in Toyota vehicles, as every claim in the MDL rests upon this pivotal technical issue. In our view, a decision on this core claim and the related causation issues will greatly speed the entire MDL.
“We will continue to work in good faith to ensure this case proceeds as efficiently as possible, and remain confident that scientifically reliable and admissible evidence will demonstrate that no defect exists in our electronic throttle control systems.”
Please visit our website: