With The Toyota Recall, The Lawsuits Cometh

Toyota Recall Parts (AP)

The massive recall on Toyotas, complete with personal tales from Steve “the Woz” Wozniak on his Prius acceleration, can only mean one thing to lawyers…LAWSUITS!

The ABA Journal’s Martha Neil has a round-up of suits filed so far, but here are some highlights from her report:

  • Corpus Christi, Texas plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Hilliard* filed suit last Friday on behalf of a local couple and similarly situated persons. The named plaintiffs are claiming their 2008 Avalon accelerated on its own twice, once causing an accident.
  • Ohio attorney Stan Chesley sued (asserting it could turn into a class action) on behalf of a couple seeking compensation from their inability to drive their Toyota — they have apparently suffered no injury.

Though the complaint filed by Hilliard claims “sudden unintended accelerations” have resulted in “16 deaths and 243 injuries,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said no deaths have been reported from a stuck accelerator. However, the article noted, five people have been killed when the cars’ pedals were stuck in the floor mat.

This is, of course, a PR nightmare for Toyota, and the litigation issues will not be limited to the car-marker. The wide web of insurers, manufacturers, dealerships and car owners themselves will mean Toyota will be wrapped up in litigation for a long time to come.

*Random disclosure of the day: Back in my associate days, I represented a client who was sued by Hilliard in his personal capacity.

Read the ABA Journal’s full report here.

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