Tag Archive: product liability

Biggest Recall in Toyota History; Stuck Accelerators; Important Info for Toyota and Lexus Owners!

Toyota recallYou may have read an article we wrote below about a fatal accident involving a family test driving a lexus and allegations that there may have been a defect that caused the accident.

Federal investigators have said of the 102 accidents caused by stuck gas pedals on Toyota vehicles, there are four possible causes involving the floor mats: The mats are too long or too thick, they weren’t properly secured, the gas pedal design is flawed or the floor geometry is defective.

The wide array of causes presents a challenge to Toyota engineers who are trying to come up with a way to fix the problem that is leading to a recall of 3.8 million vehicles, including the Camry, the top-selling car in the U.S.

“We’ve evaluated a number of different years, makes and models of Toyota and don’t believe that there is a one-size-fits-all answer as to why these incidents are occurring,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman Rae Tyson on Tuesday. “I think Toyota is going to have a challenge on its hands to come up with a remedy that is going to address the problem.”

Toyota spokesman John Hanson acknowledged the problem is more complex than vehicle floor mats alone, but involves the way the floor mat interacts with other parts of the vehicle.

“Other factors may be coming into play here,” he said. “That’s why we feel that probably the remedy could be different from vehicle to vehicle.”

On Tuesday, the Japanese automaker issued a safety advisory urging owners of 3.8 million car and trucks — including popular models like Camry, Prius and Tacoma — to remove driver-side mats. It wants drivers to watch out for loose or incorrect mats that could slide out of position and cover pedals.

Toyota is still studying the problem. Once it comes up with a fix, it will issue a recall of the models. It will be Toyota’s largest-ever U.S. recall, accounting for about 15 percent of all the automaker’s vehicles on U.S. roads, the company said.

The safety advisory was prompted by an accident last month killing four people near San Diego. In that incident, a floor mat trapped the gas pedal on a 2009 Lexus ES 350, causing it to accelerate out of control, strike an SUV, launch off an embankment, and burst into flames.

NHTSA said it had received reports of 102 incidents in which the accelerator may have become stuck on the Toyota vehicles involved. The problem has led to 13 crashes, 17 injuries and 5 fatalities in Toyota vehicles, according to NHTSA.

Toyota’s warning affects the following vehicles:
2007-2010 model year Toyota Camry;
2005-2010 Toyota Avalon;
2004-2009 Toyota Prius;
2005-2010 Tacoma;
2007-2010 Toyota Tundra;
2007-2010 Lexus ES350; and
2006-2010 Lexus IS250 and IS350.

If you, your family, or friends have been in a Toyota vehicle, and had the accelerator stuck resulting in an injury accident in the State of California, you may be entitled to compensation, under California product liability laws.

Please call our Personal Injury Hotline at 800-816-1529 or click here now.

By California Product Liability Attorneys


The Supreme Court strikes Preemption Argument In Drug Company Case.

California Personal Injury LawyerIn one of the most eagerly awaited decisions of this Supreme Court session, the justices today ruled that drug companies are not shielded from personal injury claims even if the feds approved their products and packaging. The 6-3 decision is a victory for Diana Levine, a Vermont musician, now in her 60s, who sued drug giant Wyeth after she had to have her arm amputated because of a botched injection of the anti-nausea med Phenergan.

The ruling has wide-reaching implications for product liability and personal injury lawsuits, including those pending against Merck & Co. charging that its anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx dramatically increased heart attack and stroke risk.

“Federal law does not pre-empt Levine’s claim,” the justices wrote, “that Phenergan’s label did not contain an adequate warning about the IV-push method of administration.”

To sum the case up, Levine, a guitarist, suffered from migraines and often received an injection at a nearby clinic of Phenergan in her backside to treat related nausea symptoms. But on one tragic visit in 2000, instead of giving her a shot in the butt, the physician’s assistant attempted to inject the drug directly into a vein in her arm using an alternative approved method called intravenous push.

The worker accidentally injected the drug into Levine’s artery instead of a vein, which has the potential to cause a spasm in the artery, reducing the blood supply and sometimes leading to gangrene. Indeed, the right-handed musician rapidly developed an infection in her right hand and forearm, and doctors were forced to amputate the blackened limb in two stages.

Although the packaging was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and described the risks of Phenergan, Levine’s lawyers argued that the warning against IV-push should have been stronger. A Vermont jury awarded Levine $6.7 million in damages, and the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the decision in 2006. But Wyeth appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has now weighed in, putting the matter to rest.

The three justices who ruled against Levine were John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito, Jr., who penned the dissenting opinion. “[I]t is odd (to say the least) that a jury in Vermont can now order for Phenergan what the FDA has chosen not to order for mustard gas,” Alito wrote — referring to the highly toxic but powerful chemical that, despite the significant risk, can be administered via IV push as an anticancer drug.

California Products Liabilty Attorney