Lawyer: Toyota knew of danger of stuck pedals

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 12:00 am

LOS ANGELES — Toyota Motor Corp. knew of the danger of stuck pedals and failed to install a brake-override system in the 2006 Camry of a woman who died in a crash, a lawyer told jurors in the first fatal sudden-acceleration case to go to trial.

“Had Toyota installed a brake-override system, the vehicle would have come to a stop,” Garo Mardirossian, the lawyer for the family of Noriko Uno, said Thursday in his opening statement in state court in Los Angeles.

Uno, 66, died when her Camry sped out of control and crashed into a tree after it was hit by a car that ran a stop sign in Upland, Calif., Mardirossian said.

Toyota settled economic-loss claims by U.S. drivers after the recall of more than 10 million cars worldwide in 2009 and 2010. Lawyers for drivers valued the settlement at $1.63 billion. The recall followed complaints of sudden, unintended acceleration, including stuck accelerator pedals and floor mats that would shift out of position and get wedged under the gas pedal.

Uno’s family is seeking $20 million in damages.

“This is not a stuck-pedal case,” Toyota’s lawyer, Vince Galvin, said in his opening statement. “It’s an alleged stuck foot case.”

Galvin said the claim that Uno’s right foot was stuck between the gas and the brake pedals, causing her to accelerate as she tried to brake with her left foot, is not possible.

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