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Personal Injury Legal Cases

1998 Toyota 4Runner Rollover Accident Causes Wrongful Death

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

JULIO OBEDIENTE, Individually and as Successor In Interest to the Estate of ELISA OBEDIENTE, CESAR OBEDIENTE,
JULIO OBEDIENTE, JR., RAFAEL OBEDIENTE, and SANDRA DUFFAU, Plaintiffs,
vs.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, U.S.A., INC; A California Corporation; TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION; COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC.; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.

CASE NO.: YC060158
[UNLIMITED CIVIL]

CASE ASSIGNED FOR ALL PURPOSES TO:
JUDGE
DEPARTMENT

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL ACTION FOR:

  1. Strict Product Liability
  2. Negligent Product Liability
  3. Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness
  4. Misrepresentation

Complaint Filed:
Trial Date

COME NOW, Plaintiffs JULIO OBEDIENTE, Individually and as Successor In Interest to the Estate of ELISA OBEDIENTE, CESAR OBEDIENTE, JULIO OBEDIENTE, JR., RAFAEL OBEDIENTE, and SANDRA DUFFAU for causes of action against Defendants and each of them, allege as follows.

COMMON ALLEGATIONS FOR ALL CAUSES OF ACTION

  1. At all times herein mentioned, Plaintiffs JULIO OBEDIENTE, CESAR OBEDIENTE, JULIO OBEDIENTE, JR., RAFAEL OBEDIENTE, and SANDRA DUFFAU were and are individuals and residents of the State of Florida, County of Hillsborough.
  2. Plaintiff, JULIO OBEDIENTE, Individually and as Successor In Interest to the Estate of ELISA OBEDIENTE, deceased, was and is the lawful heir of the decedent, ELISA OBEDIENTE and brings this action as a survival action, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.32, and also brings this action as a wrongful death action, pursuant to C.C.P. §377.60, for the wrongful death of his wife, and is joined in the wrongful death action by the surviving children of the decedent, ELISA OBEDIENTE, namely CESAR OBEDIENTE, JULIO OBEDIENTE, JR., RAFAEL OBEDIENTE, and SANDRA DUFFAU.
  3. At all times mentioned herein this complaint, defendants, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC. was and is a corporation duly organized and existing pursuant to the laws of the state of California, with principal places of business in the city of Torrance, county of Los Angeles, state of California.
  4. At all times mentioned herein this complaint, defendants, COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC. was and is a corporation duly organized and existing pursuant to the laws of the state of Florida, with principal place of business in the city of Tampa, county of Hillsborough, state of Florida.
  5. At all times herein mentioned, defendant TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, was and is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of Japan with a principal place of business in the City of Tokyo, Japan. At all times herein mentioned, defendant TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION and DOES 1 through 100, were and are corporations qualified and/or authorized to do business in the state of California and were at all times herein mentioned, doing business within the state of California.
  6. The true names and/or capacities, whether individual, corporate associate, governmental or otherwise of defendant DOES 1 through 100, inclusive and each of them are unknown to the plaintiffs, who therefore sue said defendants by such fictitious names. When the true names and/or capacities of said defendants are ascertained, the plaintiffs will seek leave of this court to amend the complaint accordingly.
  7. The plaintiffs are informed and believe, and based thereupon allege, that each defendant designated herein as a DOE was responsible, negligently or in some other actionable manner, for the events and happenings herein referred to which proximately caused the damages to the plaintiffs as hereinafter alleged, either through said defendant's own negligence or through the conduct of its agents, servants, employees or representatives in some other manner.
  8. The plaintiffs are informed and believe and based thereupon allege that at all times mentioned herein the defendants and each of them were the agents, servants, employees, representatives and/or joint venturers of their co-defendants and were, as such acting within the course, scope and authority of said agency, services, employment, representation and/or joint venture in that each and every defendant, as aforesaid when acting as principal, was negligent in the selection and hiring of each and every other defendant as an agent, servant, employee, representative and/or joint venturer.
  9. The plaintiffs are informed and believe, and based thereupon allege that at all times mentioned herein each of the defendants, including defendant DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, and each of them were the agents, servants, employees, representatives of each of the remaining defendants and were at all times material hereto acting within the authorized course and scope of said agency, service, employment and/or representation, and/or that all of said acts, conduct and omissions were subsequently ratified by their respective principals and the benefits thereof accepted by such principals.
  10. At all times mentioned herein, defendants, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC., and DOES 1 through 50, were and are engaged in the business of manufacturing, fabricating, designing, assembling, distributing, selling, inspecting, servicing, repairing, marketing, warranting, modifying, aftermarket equipping and modifying, leasing, renting, selling, retailing, wholesaling and advertising a certain subject 1998 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility Vehicle (as well as and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides) Florida License No. B63ZE, ("SUBJECT 4RUNNER") and each and every component part thereof, which defendants knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, would be used without inspection for defects in its parts, mechanisms or design, for use in the State of California and elsewhere.
  11. On or about May 24, 2009, at approximately 2:27 p.m., on Interstate 75 (SR93A) southbound north of Fletcher, in the county of Hillsborough, state of Florida. Decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE who was driving the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, attempting to make a lane change from the outside lane to the inside lane when she saw another vehicle approaching in the inside lane. When she directed her vehicle back into the outside lane the maneuver caused her to lose control of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER as a result of a dynamic oversteer resulting from the lateral instability of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, which was beyond the recovery capabilities of decedent as a nonprofessional driver, which eventually caused the vehicle's tires to exceed their maximum cornering speed causing the vehicle in turn to rollover due to its low Static Stability Factor ("SSF"), i.e., high center of gravity and comparatively narrow track width. As a result of the roll of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER the roof of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, which was designed and manufactured with insufficient strength in its "A", "B", "C" and "D" pillars, windshield headers and roof rails, was incapable of withstanding the weight of the vehicle when inverted and was caused thereby to crush inward toward the decedent causing partial ejection resulting in decedent suffering blunt impact with lacerations of left cephalic vein and brachial artery branches and positional asphyxia culminating in catastrophic and fatal injuries.
  12. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

    (Strict Product Liability against Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC., COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC., and DOES 1 through 50, Inclusive)

  13. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate by reference each of paragraphs 1 through 11, above, as though fully set forth herein.
  14. ;Defendants, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC. (hereinafter 'TOYOTA Defendants'), and DOES 1 through 50, and each of them, knew that said SUBJECT 4RUNNER was to be purchased and used without inspection for defects by the users of that vehicle including but not limited to plaintiffs and their decedent herein.
  15. The SUBJECT 4RUNNER and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides mentioned were manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, inspected, merchandised, marketed, distributed, labeled, advertised, promoted, sold, supplied, leased, rented, repaired, modified, aftermarket modified, adjusted, selected and used with inherent vices and defects both in design and manufacturing and by failure to warn (hereinafter "SUBJECT DEFECTS") which made it dangerous, hazardous and unsafe both for its intended use or for reasonably foreseeable misuses.
  16. These SUBJECT DEFECTS included, but were not limited to:
    • The "A", "B", "C" and "D" pillars/windshield headers and roof rails were designed and fabricated without sufficient strength and structural integrity to withstand roof crushing forces without imparting injury-producing forces upon vehicle occupants during foreseeable accident rollovers of such vehicles, which rollover propensities where significantly heightened, as defendants and each of them well knew at the time of manufacture, by the relatively low SSF of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER; and
    • The SUBJECT 4RUNNER was designed and manufactured with insufficient lateral and roll stability so as to keep the vehicle upright during cornering and handling by an ordinary driver during reasonable foreseeable roadway and traffic conditions, including, but not limited to, evasive driving maneuvers at freeway speeds undertaken to avoid collisions from encroaching vehicles.
    • The SUBJECT 4RUNNER did not have Electronic Stability Control ("ESC") installed, which ESC was not only technologically feasible, but was readily available by the TOYOTA DEFENDANTS in the 1995 Model Year 4Runner, including the SUBJECT 4RUNNER at relatively little additional cost, which ESC would sense oversteer or understeer, and automatically adjust braking and throttle to match the vehicle's direction to the driver's intention to assist the vehicle's driver to maintain directional control. Such ESC system, had it been installed in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, would have dampened and mitigated the dynamic oscillations and oversteer in the laterally unstable SUBJECT 4RUNNER sufficiently so as to have prevented decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE's ultimate loss of control and rollover, causing the ensuing rollover accident and decedent's resulting serious and fatal injuries. Such ESC should have been standard equipment on the SUBJECT 4RUNNER given the enhanced and advanced aforementioned lateral instability and rollover propensities of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER known to the defendants and the purchase purpose of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, i.e., for use by members of the public inexperienced with the aforementioned lateral instability and rollover propensities of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER and/or of unknown and/or undisclosed driving experience.
    • Defective and unsafe window systems in the side and rear windows, which failed to comply with the purposes of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 205, in that the window systems did not reduce or mitigate injuries resulting from impact to the glazing surfaces and did not minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown through the vehicle windows in collisions. The entire window system, its frame and design of the structure, as part of the occupant restraint system, failed to restrain the decedent and parts of her body were thrown through the defective vehicle's window system when the system totally failed during the accident sequence, opening portals for the decedent's partial ejection and severe lacerations resulting fatal injuries, which window system defendants knew and were aware would fail, shatter and lacerate the occupants and create openings for occupant ejection in the event of a roll-over and/or side slip/skid or rear impact accident, and which in this case, did create portals and openings allowing the decedent to be partially ejected during the accident sequence, and causing fatal injuries. Despite the availability to defendants of the knowledge and technology to use alternative feasible designs for the side and rear window systems of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, which would have prevented the partial ejection of the decedent and her body parts and prevented the fatal injuries during the rollover and side slip/skid accident, defendants did not use such alternative feasible designs in order to cut costs and save money.
    • Defective and unsafe restraint system, including but not limited to seat buckles, seat belts, shoulder belts and retractors, defects including but not limited to false latching, inertial unlatching, inadvertent unlatching, lack of pre tensioners, and retractor failure, which defendants and each of them knew and were aware would fail to restrain an occupant in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER in the event of a rollover accident, and which, in this case, failed to restrain the decedent, ELISA OBEDIENTE, and which further facilitated the partial ejection of her body during the accident sequence.
    • Defendants and each of them, despite their awareness of the aforementioned dangers and defects in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, failed to give any warnings to the decedent and/or other purchasers and users of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER of said aforementioned dangers and defects in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER.
  17. Said product and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides was unsafe for its intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuses by reason of defects in its design and/or manufacturing and/or failure to warn by said defendants, and each of them, in that when said SUBJECT 4RUNNER, and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides were used by decedent on or about May 24, 2009, as intended or in a reasonable foreseeable manner, said SUBJECT 4RUNNER, during reasonably foreseeable driving maneuvers, was dangerous and did suffer a loss of lateral control, and did rollover in a roof crushing crash resulting in the sudden partial ejection of the properly-restrained decedent from the SUBJECT 4RUNNER.
  18. As a direct and legal result of the conduct of defendants, and each of them, and the defects inherent in the vehicle, fatal injuries were caused thereby to plaintiffs' decedent, in turn legally resulting in plaintiffs' special and general damages in a sum in excess of the minimum subject matter jurisdiction of this Superior Court according to proof at trial.
  19. As a further direct and legal result of the conduct of defendants, and each of them, plaintiffs have suffered a loss of both financial support and love, care, companionship, comfort society, solace and moral support, and have further suffered from the loss of their assistance in the operation and maintenance of their home as a result of the loss of their mother, ELISA OBEDIENTE and in the case of plaintiff JULIO OBEDIENTE, a further loss of consortium as a result of the loss of his wife, in a sum of damages according to proof at trial.
  20. ALLEGATIONS SUPPORTING EXEMPLARY DAMAGES PRAYER ON FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION ONLY, BY JULIO OBEDIENTE, Individually and as Successor In Interest to the Estate of ELISA OBEDIENTE, CESAR OBEDIENTE, JULIO OBEDIENTE, JR., RAFAEL OBEDIENTE, SANDRA DUFFAU AS AGAINST DEFENDANTS TOYOTA MOTOR SALES USA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, and DOES 1 through 25, Inclusive, ONLY

  21. Plaintiffs are further informed and believe and thereon allege that defendants TOYOTA MOTOR SALES USA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, and DOES 1 through 25, and each of them intentionally engaged in conduct which, with respect to the SUBJECT DEFECTS, plaintiffs allege were a legal cause of their loss, damages, injuries and harm, exposed plaintiffs and their decedent and other users of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER to serious potential danger known to the defendants in order to advance the Defendants' pecuniary interests and thus acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs and their decedent and other users of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, warranting an award of exemplary damages against defendants, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES USA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, and DOES 1 through 25, pursuant to Civil Code § 3294(c)(1), and the rule enunciated in Ford Motor Co. v. Home Ins. Co. (1981) 116 Cal. App.3d 374, 381-382 and PPG Industries, Inc v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1996) 49 Cal. App.4th 1120. The facts supporting the Defendants' intentional conduct which exposed plaintiffs and their decedent and other users of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER to serious potential danger known to the defendants in order to advance the Defendants' pecuniary interests, are on information and belief, as follows.
  22. Since 1968, defendants and each of them have known and been placed upon notice contemporaneously as a result of crash data, in-house testing, field-service reports, and published studies that actual users of and passengers carried within pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles ("SUVs") manufactured by said defendants and each of them, including but not limited to, the SUBJECT 4RUNNER were susceptible to accident forces exceeding 8,000 Newtons, which forces were more than sufficient to cause and bring about, and which accident forces were and are causing and bringing about, serious and substantial head and neck injuries during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and the SUBJECT 4RUNNER were and are actually used by such users of these vehicles and members of the public as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  23. Since 1968, defendants and each of them have known and been placed upon notice contemporaneously as a result of the information described above, that the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails of such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, must be manufactured and fabricated to withstand rollover crushing forces of at least 8,000 Newtons in order to adequately protect users of these vehicles and members of the public from serious injuries and/or death from crushing of the roofs of such vehicles during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and the SUBJECT 4RUNNER were and are actually being used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  24. In or about 1983 and 1984, Chrysler and Anthony Sances of the Medical College of Wisconsin published industry studies of which defendants and each of them were in receipt of and on notice, which further established that the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails of such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, must be manufactured and fabricated to withstand rollover crushing forces of at least 8,000 Newtons in order to adequately protect users of these vehicles and members of the public from serious injuries and/or death from crushing of the roofs of such vehicles during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT 4RUNNER were and are actually used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  25. In or about 1984, defendants and each of them, published and/or participated in and/or received Hybrid III crash dummy specifications for a catastrophic compressive neck injury of 4,000 Newtons at the load cell (i.e., the base of the human head) when they knew at that time that such forces were approximately one-half of the crushing forces defendants knew at the time from Cadaver and other studies in their possession, were minimally necessary to effect head and neck injuries, which actions were taken to establish a false set of rollover crush force minima which were not representative of actual rollover accident conditions, and which were intended by said defendants to and which in fact did falsely lead the public and regulatory bodies of the U.S. Government to believe that the trucks, vans and SUVs manufactured by the defendants and each of them had sufficiently fortified A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails within such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT 4RUNNER so as to be able to withstand rollover crush forces of 4,000 Newtons.
  26. In fact this was only half of the roof crush impact forces said defendants and each of them knew were actually being sustained in such rollover accidents, and which rollover crush forces said defendants, and each of them knew, were well beyond the actual structural prophylactic limitations of the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails said defendants were using and continued to use within such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and SUBJECT 4RUNNER, such that said defendants knew and intended that members of the public and users of such vehicles were being exposed and would continue to be exposed to death and serious injuries from the crushing of the roofs of such vehicles during rollovers when such trucks, vans, and SUVs, and the SUBJECT 4RUNNER were and are actually being used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  27. In 1985, as a result of information which had come to light as a result of rollover crush accident data, in-house testing, field-service reports, and published studies, defendants and each of them published and/or participated in and/or received position papers detailing rollover roof crush studies claimed to have been performed in-house (during calendar years 1983 and 1984) (hereinafter "MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS"). Said defendants, in concert with other automakers, and each of them knew, and intended that the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS falsely concluded and misrepresented, based upon the 1983 to 1984 testing performed and/or received and/or participated in by said defendants and the data obtained therefrom, that.
    • 4,000 Newtons was the reasonable average rollover crush force delivered and extant in typical rollover crush accidents, when in fact defendants knew that the actual rollover impact forces were twice that number, i.e., at least 8,000 Newtons;
    • That a videotaped excerpt from the testing data which showed substantial injuries being delivered to the head of a test subject were merely a contact patch, and not an actual instance of a rollover crush injury, when in fact defendants knew at the time that this was not the case;
    • ;That the roof strength of the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails which use half-sections of roll tubing ("OPEN SECTIONS") are just as secure and will prevent rollover crush injuries just as effectively as complete roll tubing ("CLOSED SECTIONS"), which said defendants knew at the time was false;
    • That the roof strength of the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails were just as effective and secure and would and did prevent rollover crush injuries just as effectively in production model trucks as in roll-caged trucks, when in fact said defendants knew this was false;
  28. Defendants and each of them, individually and in concert with other automakers, therein further knowingly falsified their test results, ignored and suppressed data, and further falsely mis-characterized adverse test data which said defendants knew at the time tended to prove that their trucks, vans and SUVs were defective and unsafe in real world rollover accidents, and would and did expose members of the public and users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs and vans to death and serious head and spinal injuries in the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS due to the insufficient strength of the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails in such vehicles.
  29. After demands were made by litigants and other members of the public following the 1985 publication of the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS, said defendants and each of them, individually and in concert with other automakers, intentionally spoliated and destroyed critical test evidence and test documentation upon which the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS were allegedly based, so as to prevent discovery of the falsehoods and misrepresentations made by said defendants in the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS, and to prevent disclosure of the fact that said defendants knew that they were knowingly and intentionally exposing users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs, vans and pick-ups, including plaintiffs' decedent, to death and serious head and spinal injuries in the MALIBU 1 TEST RESULTS due to the insufficient strength of the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails installed in such vehicles.
  30. In 1990, defendants and each of them again published and/or participated in and/or received second positions papers detailing rollover roof crush studies that said defendants and other automakers claimed to have performed in-house (hereinafter "MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS"), in which results said defendants knowingly and intentionally falsified test data: defendants and each of them knew and intended that the MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS falsely concluded and misrepresented, based upon the 1983 to 1984 testing performed and/or participated in and/or received by the said defendants and the data obtained therefrom, that:
    • The test data conducted and upon which the MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS were based, supported the conclusion that 4,000 Newtons was the reasonable average rollover crush force delivered and extant in typical rollover crush accidents, when in fact said defendants knew that the actual rollover impact forces were twice that number, i.e., at least 8,000 Newtons;
    • That the restraint systems in said Defendants' trucks, vans, and SUVs were effective to prevent head contact with the roof structures during times when rolling vehicles were inverted, when in fact said defendants and each of them had used and implemented standing pelvis dummies which did not engage or place any genuine "loads" upon the restraint systems involved to begin with, for the purposes of falsely leading the public and governmental regulators into believing that existing restraint systems were adequate to mitigate roof crushing rollover injuries, when in fact defendants knew that this was false;
    • Centrifugal forces extant in the genuinely prototypical rollover crush accident were insignificant, unreasonably angles and vectors of impact forces were appropriate and proper when said defendants and each of them in fact knew that such angles and vectors were not representative of real accident conditions and understated and/or outright misrepresented real accident conditions so as falsely to lead the public and government regulators to conclude the roof structures were of adequate strength, when said defendants knew this to be false, that drop testing procedures were injury irrelevant (as they were knowingly performed by said defendants from unrealistic heights), and that rolling "spit" test procedures proved that members of the public would sustain injury regardless of roof component strength, when in fact defendants knew at that time that all such conclusions were false.
  31. Defendants and each of them, individually and in concert with other automakers, further knowingly falsified their test results, ignored and suppressed data, and further falsely mis-characterized adverse test data which said defendants knew at the time tended to prove that their trucks, vans, SUVs and pick-ups were defective and unsafe in real world rollover accidents, and would and did expose members of the public and users of said Defendants' trucks, SUVs and vans to death and serious head, neck and spinal injuries in the MALIBU 2 TEST RESULTS due to the insufficient strength of the A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails in such vehicles.
  32. At all times mentioned herein, defendants and each of them were aware that use of complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails was at all times mechanically feasible, posed no adverse consequences to consumers or to said Defendants' trucks, vans and SUVs, and were only marginally more expensive to implement, which use of complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails would withstand rollover impact forces in excess of 8,000 Newtons and thus would prevent death and serious injuries in most actual rollover accident cases, including that accident which is the subject of this action.
  33. At all times herein mentioned, on information and belief, defendants and each of them knew and were aware that members of the public were suffering from death and serious injuries in rollover accidents which involved roof crushing forces in said Defendants' trucks, vans, and SUVs as a result of said Defendants' failure to use complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails of said Defendants' vehicles.
  34. At all times mentioned herein, despite the fact that defendants and each of them were aware that use of complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails was at all times mechanically feasible, posed no adverse consequences to consumers or to said Defendants' trucks, vans and SUVs, were only marginally more expensive to implement, and would have prevented deaths and serious injuries in most actual rollover accident cases, including that accident which is the subject of this action, said defendants on information and belief intentionally refused to use complete sections, thicker steel and stronger materials in A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails of their trucks, vans and SUVs: (1) to avoid the increased expense of using such improvements in their vehicles (including costs of redesign, more extensive materials, retooling, re-certification expenditures and other costs of implementation), so as to preserve and widen said Defendants' profit margin on the sales of such vehicles; (2) to avoid disclosure during re-certification and retooling processes of the fact that said defendants knew their previously-manufactured trucks' vans' and SUVs A-pillars/windshield headers and roof rails were of insufficient strength to withstand even modest actual rollover accidents without the risks of serious injuries and death to users of such vehicles, which would greatly increase said Defendants' legal exposure in cases brought arising from rollovers of production vehicles already in use by the public; and (3) to avoid taking action which would result in disclosures leading to an expensive recall campaign by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
  35. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and further thereon allege that, from 1987 onward, defendants, in concert with other automakers, conducted studies and analyses to determine the extent to which the use of laminated glass windshields could be used in the stead and in place of stronger materials resistant to foreseeable roof crush for the purposes of meeting other inadequate and insufficient Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 216 testing not replicating real world roof crush events, all for the purposes of saving the defendants money and advancing their pecuniary interests by reducing costs of production and increasing profits, despite knowing at all times relevant that during a real world roof crush event, the windshield will universally and always fracture instantaneously losing its structural strength and thus instantaneously depriving occupants of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER of any genuine sufficient protection from catastrophic and/or fatal injuries as a result of the roof crush forces. At the same time defendants thus were reducing the strength of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER's roof to be able to withstand foreseeable and statistically inevitable real world roof crush events, in order to effectuate cost saving and increase profits to the detriment of the safety of the public using such vehicles, thus exhibiting a willful and conscious disregard of such public's safety, as alleged above. Defendants and each of them advertised and marketed their vehicles as safe, rugged and tough, which in fact defendants knew at all times they were making such representations that their SUBJECT 4RUNNER and other similar trucks, vans and SUVs would be likely to leave occupants of the vehicle totally unprotected from catastrophic injuries and death from roof crushing forces during statistically inevitable and foreseeable rollover incidents.
  36. Plaintiffs further allege that, at the time of manufacture of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, defendants and each of them had available ESC for use and installation in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, which ESC was not only technologically feasible, but was readily available in the 1998 Model Year 4RUNNER, including the SUBJECT 4RUNNER at relatively little additional cost, which ESC would address oversteer or understeer and automatically adjust braking and throttle to match the vehicle's direction to the driver's intention so as to help the driver maintain control. Such ESC system, had it been installed in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, would have dampened and mitigated the dynamic oscillations and oversteer in the laterally unstable SUBJECT 4RUNNER sufficiently so as to have prevented the loss of control and rollover following the aforementioned vehicular contact, causing the ensuing rollover accident and plaintiffs' resulting injuries. Defendants at all times herein relevant knew such ESC could and would mitigate and dampen the effects of lateral instability in its SUVs including, but not limited to, the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, and which could have and would have likely prevented the oversteer and under steer highly foreseeable in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER arising as a result of its known lateral instability, and which ESC defendants knew would be likely to avoid rollover accidents arising from such lateral instability, which rollover accidents in such vehicles, defendants and each of them at all times herein relevant knew, would like result in total roof crush and resulting serious and/or fatal injuries to occupants of such vehicles, thus heightening the accident and roof-crush prevention propensities of said vehicles as a whole. Although the marginal cost per vehicle associated with incorporation of such readily-available and optional ESC into Defendants' vehicle, including but not limited to, the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, was extremely low, i.e., from $100 to $400 per vehicle, defendants and each of them, nonetheless willfully failed and refused to incorporate ESC into such vehicles as standard equipment, despite Defendants' knowledge that such ESC could and would prevent a multitude of accidents and severe and/or fatal injuries arising from foreseeable lateral instability and resulting rollover and roof crush accidents, including the accident involving plaintiffs' decedent and the SUBJECT 4RUNNER. Such ESC should have been standard equipment on the SUBJECT 4RUNNER given the enhanced and advanced aforementioned lateral instability and rollover propensities of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER known to the defendants and the purchase purpose of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, i.e., for use by members of the public inexperienced with the aforementioned lateral instability and rollover propensities of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER and/or of unknown and/or undisclosed driving experience. As a result, defendants thus willfully exposed decedent and other members of the general public to the risks of death and serious injury arising from such foreseeable and inevitable accidents, all for the advancement of Defendants' pecuniary interests in the form of avoidance of diminished sales associated with slightly higher sticker prices, potential further warranty repair expense of ESC systems, and avoidance of taking action which would potentially be perceived as remedial of the known lateral instability and rollover and roof crush propensities of Defendants' SUVs, vans and light trucks, including the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, thus potentially increasing the Defendants' liability exposure in lawsuits arising from the lateral instability, rollover and roof crush characteristics of the Defendants' SUVs, vans and light trucks, including the SUBJECT 4RUNNER.
  37. Plaintiffs further allege that defendants knew and were aware at the time of manufacture of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER that:
    • The SUBJECT 4RUNNER had a statistical rollover death rate equal to that of the Suzuki Samurai, a known defective vehicle;
    • The SUBJECT 4RUNNER had the same SSF as the Toyota Land Cruiser, another of the Defendants' vehicles known to have a low SSF and a resulting propensity to roll over on flat, level surfaces;
    • Defendants by and through their officers, directors and agents, including but not limited to national merchandising manager, Mr. Cecconi and Senior Staff Engineer, Mr. Yonekawa, had marketed the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, to attract purchasers who were older, wealthier drivers intending to use the vehicle for commuting as well as for outdoor activities, which potential purchasers and users believed that the 4RUNNER's height was a safety factor in regard to better visibility, yet such marketing and advertising did not disclose the heightened rollover risk attributable to such increased vehicular height; defendants and their agents, officers and directors, further created a marketing and advertising campaign at or about the time of manufacture of said vehicle, including but not limited to, television commercials and print media depicting the 4RUNNER performing maneuvers which, under certain conditions well known to the defendants, were likely to cause the vehicle to lose lateral control and rollover or tip up, and thereafter consciously failed and refused to warn consumers of such risks;
    • Defendants, by and through their officers, directors and agents, including but not limited to Senior Staff Engineer, Mr. Yonekawa, knew and were fully aware that the 1998 4RUNNER was susceptible to roll over, tip up, reduced roll over resistance as of and before 1984, due to the Defendants' performance of rollover resistance testing on 4RUNNERS and vehicles of other manufacture. Prior to the manufacture of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, Toyota knew that its 4RUNNER model failed stability tests, and in fact, was listed as the number 2 most likely vehicle of its class to rollover in the five state study undertaken and/or described in the Federal Registry. TOYOTA DEFENDANTS, by and through their engineers, management or others, developed tests, including, TSA-1544 and TSZ5100G, also called "fish hook" turn tests, to determine the likelihood of rollover, wherein vehicles of other manufactures as well as 4RUNNERS were tested on pre set steering and brake inputs. The 4RUNNER failed Toyota's own in-house test with rollover, and/or two wheel tip-up, occurring at speeds as low as 32 miles per hour. In addition, defendants knew that similar vehicles of other manufactures, such as the Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet S-10, did not rollover, tip-up or have two wheel lift under the "fish hook" turn test. Despite these in-house test failures, both TMC and TMS failed to recall the product or adequately attempt to issue further warnings to consumers such as plaintiffs' decedent herein.
    • Thereafter, Toyota redesigned its "fish hook" turn test to test for the "lateral acceleration" necessary to cause two wheel lift, and in part, because the 4RUNNER could not pass Toyota's initial in-house test where as the Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet S-10 could pass said original "fish hook" turn test. The redesigned testing of the 1996 and later model 4RUNNER still resulted in roll over and/or two wheel tip up, at speeds of 36 miles per hour, in violation of Toyota's in-house design specifications and requirements. Despite this knowledge that the 4RUNNER did not comply with internal standards for rollover resistance and/or rollover standards, and that the SUBJECT 4RUNNER would likely tip-up, rollover and/or otherwise lose control in reasonably foreseeable maneuvers on level dry pavement, including, but not limited to: evasive maneuvers, cornering at reasonably foreseeable speeds, or any other steering imputes requiring responsive turning at speeds less than 40 miles per hour, defendants continued to market and manufacture the 4RUNNER, intentionally withholding this knowledge and failed to warn purchasers of the vehicle's propensity to tip-up and/or rollover.
    • Defendants deliberately, intentionally and falsely, failed to disclose the results of the failed testing and instead, in response to the failed testing performed by defendants, implemented newly designed tests, modified the prior tests and/ or implemented recalibrated tests to make it appear that the 4RUNNER was not susceptible to rollover, and/or two wheel tip-up, when performing anticipated maneuvers on dry, paved surfaces, when in fact defendants knew and were fully aware that the 4RUNNER was susceptible to rollover, tip-up, and reduced rollover resistance before 1984.
    • In addition, in order to advance the Defendants' pecuniary interests, despite Defendants' full knowledge of the 4RUNNER's susceptibility to rollover and tip-up, and its reduced rollover resistance, when equipped with Toyota's standard wheel and tire package, defendants intentionally and deliberately under-produced the standard wheel and tire package so that purchasers of the 4RUNNER would purchase the upgraded, larger wheel and tire package, which larger wheel and tire package defendants knew and were fully aware would increase the 4RUNNER's propensity to rollover and tip-up due to the fact that the larger tires would raise the center of gravity thereby decreasing the already insufficient lateral and roll stability necessary to keep the vehicle upright during cornering and handling by an ordinary driver during reasonable foreseeable roadway and traffic conditions.
    • Defendants further knew and were fully aware that certain design modifications, including but not limited to lowering the 4RUNNER's center of gravity and/or widening its tack width to increase rollover resistance, would have improved resistance to improved stability; yet defendants and each of them consciously decided not to utilize such known and available design modifications in order to advance the Defendants' pecuniary interests.
  38. The actions of said defendants and each of them, as described above, were thus undertaken with a willful and conscious disregard for the rights and safety of consumers and users of said Defendants' trucks, vans and SUVs, including the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, in order to advance the pecuniary gains of the defendants and each of them, and such actions were despicable because such conduct would and does kill people, and did so in this case, including but not limited to the plaintiffs' decedent herein, during the course of the accident which is the subject of this lawsuit.
  39. Plaintiffs further allege that the conduct of the defendants was undertaken with the result that the 4RUNNER's ultimate defects in its design and production were fully intended by the defendants to reside therein such that they were and are the product of the entire corporate management and corporate policy of the defendants with respect to the conscious willful and disregard of public safety for Defendants' pecuniary gain with regard to the design, manufacture, production and marketing of the 4RUNNER.
  40. As a direct and proximate result of the aforementioned conduct of defendants and each of them, an award of exemplary and punitive damages against the TOYOTA DEFENDANTS, and DOES 1 through 25, and each of them is proper and appropriate to punish said defendants and to deter such conduct in the future.
  41. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION (Negligence [Product Liability] against Defendants

    TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC., COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC. and DOES 1 through 50, Inclusive)

  42. Plaintiffs incorporate, repeat and re-allege each and every allegation in paragraphs 1 through 38, inclusive of the First Cause of Action, above and incorporate the same by reference as though set forth herein.
  43. At all times mentioned, defendants and each of them, had a duty to properly manufacture, design, assemble, package, test, fabricate, analyze, inspect, merchandise, market, distribute, label, advertise, promote, sell, supply, lease, rent, warn, select, inspect and repair said product and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides.
  44. At all times mentioned, defendants and each of them and DOES 11 through 20 knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known that said SUBJECT 4RUNNER and each of its components parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides were not properly manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, inspected, merchandised, marketed, distributed, labeled, advertised, promoted, sold, supplied, leased, rented, repaired, selected and provided inadequate warnings for the use and purpose for which it was intended in it was likely to injure the person who used said product, each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides.
  45. Defendants, and each of them, so negligently and carelessly, manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, inspected, merchandised, marketed, modified, distributed, labeled, advertised, promoted, sold, supplied, leased, rented, repaired, selected and provided inadequate warnings and provided said SUBJECT 4RUNNER and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides so that the same was a defective and dangerous product, unsafe for the respective use and purpose for which it was intended when used and driven as recommended or for reasonably foreseeable misuse by said defendants and each of them. In particular, said SUBJECT 4RUNNER and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides during a reasonably foreseeable maneuver was unstable, dangerous and would rollover with roof crushing instability causing injury to its occupants, as alleged above. In addition, said SUBJECT 4RUNNER and each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides during a reasonably foreseeable driving maneuver made with due care was unstable and dangerous.
  46. That as a direct and proximate result of the negligence, carelessness, and unlawful conduct of the defendants, and each of them, and the defects inherent in the vehicle, legally caused the plaintiffs' decedent's fatal injuries, legally resulting in plaintiffs' damages as set forth above.
  47. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION (Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness against Defendants

    TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC., COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC. and DOES 1 through 50, Inclusive)

  48. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate by reference each of paragraphs 1 through 43, above, as though fully set forth herein.
  49. At all relevant times, defendants TMC and TMS, in placing the SUBJECT 4RUNNER product in the stream of commerce warranted, guaranteed and promised that the SUBJECT 4RUNNER was reasonably safe for the ordinary purposes of its intended use, and plaintiffs' decedent herein relied, to her detriment, upon said warranties and promises in purchasing the SUBJECT 4RUNNER.
  50. On or about May 24, 2009, at approximately 2:27 p.m., on Interstate 75 (SR93A) southbound north of Fletcher, in the county of Hillsborough, state of Florida. Decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE who was driving the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, attempting to make a lane change from the outside lane to the inside lane when she saw another vehicle approaching in the inside lane. When she directed her vehicle back into the outside lane the maneuver caused her to lose control of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER as a result of a dynamic oversteer resulting from the lateral instability of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER, which was beyond the recovery capabilities of decedent as a nonprofessional driver, which eventually caused the SUBJECT 4RUNNER's tires to exceed their maximum cornering speed causing the vehicle in turn to roll approximately 4 times due to its low Static Stability Factor ("SSF"), i.e., high center of gravity and comparatively narrow wheel base. As a result of the roll of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER the roof of the vehicle, which was designed and manufactured with insufficient strength in its "A", "B" "C" and "D", pillars, windshield headers and roof rails, was incapable of withstanding the weight of the vehicle when inverted and was caused thereby to crush inward toward the decedent causing fatal injuries.
  51. The SUBJECT 4RUNNER was unreasonably dangerous even under such normal and reasonably foreseeable use as stated herein when it left the TMC factory, as a direct result of which, plaintiffs' decedent's partial ejection causing blunt impact with lacerations of left cephalic vein and brachial artery branches and positional asphyzia resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries, when the vehicle rolled over into and across the center guardrail.
  52. Defendants TMC and TMS, through their own in-house testing, knew for many years prior to production of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER that the vehicle was both directionally and laterally unstable and prone to rollover at very low speeds, in the 35 mile per hour range. The defendants knew that the center of gravity ("CG") was unacceptably high and that the track width ("TW") was unacceptably narrow which greatly contributed to the directional and lateral instability of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER and which greatly increased the risk and likelihood of rollover events occurring even during normal, reasonable and foreseeable driving such as occurred herein. The defendants further knew that the poorly designed suspension system, lack of electronic stability control technology, lack of side curtain airbags, and inadequate warnings issued with the vehicle would contribute significantly to rollover injury death events.
  53. For several years prior to the subject accident date, TMC and/or TMS had conducted numerous handling and stability tests, including, but not limited to, TSA-1544 testing to evaluate rollover resistence performance of the 4RUNNER, which were documented and showed that one and two wheel lift was occurring on certain models of the 4RUNNER at even surface street speeds in the 30-40 mile per hour range, yet both TMC and TMS failed to recall the product (although TMC/TMS did attempt a partial fix with the addition of a hollow spring on certain models), or adequately attempt to issue further warnings to consumers such as plaintiffs' decedent herein.
  54. At all relevant times, plaintiffs' decedent was unaware of the hidden design defects in the vehicle which rendered it unreasonably dangerous for its intended use.
  55. Defendants TMC and TMS further designed, manufactured, assembled, warranted, promised, and sold an unreasonably dangerous vehicle in that the inadequate roof strength, headers, and A, B, C and D pillars, defective and unsafe restraint system as well as the use of tempered glass in the side windows and lack of side curtain air bags were known to these defendants to enhance and greatly increase the likelihood of severe and fatal injuries due to partial ejection in the event of a rollover, thereby adding significant additional danger to users of the product.
  56. As a direct result of the breach of warranty of fitness herein by the defendants,     plaintiff, individually as the surviving spouse, and on behalf of the four (4) children of the decedent has suffered substantial loss of financial support, loss of love, companionship, affection, society, and advice, as have all of the legal heirs of ELISA OBEDIENTE.
  57. In addition, Plaintiff's decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE survived for a period of time and was rendered medical aid and support prior to her death for a period of time prior to being pronounced at the hospital.
  58. Accordingly, plaintiff as representative of ELISA OBEDIENTE's estate is entitled to additional damages for the conscious pre-death pain and suffering of decedent together with the medical costs incurred for her care and treatment, in a sum to be determined.
  59. FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION (Misrepresentation against Defendants

    TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC., COURTESY TOYOTA OF BRANDON, INC. and DOES 1 through 50, Inclusive)

  60. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate by reference each of paragraphs 1 through 54, above, as though fully set forth herein.
  61. Defendants TMC and TMS misrepresented the character and quality of the 3rd Generation 4Runner, generally, and specifically the SUBJECT 4RUNNER through marketing, advertising, and promotional materials, by expressly and impliedly warranting that the SUBJECT 4RUNNER was safe for its intended purpose. The false representations that included express misrepresentations of material fact concerning the character and quality of the product, materials used in its construction, and in the testing of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER.
  62. Plaintiffs and plaintiffs' decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE justifiably relied upon these false misrepresentations.
  63. The misrepresentations were made through advertising, marketing and promoting the product, the totality of which, taken as a whole, falsely misrepresented that the product was safe for use in a manner indicated by Defendants TMC, and TMS and to be suitable for consumers such as plaintiffs and plaintiffs' decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE.
  64. Defendants TMC and TMS fraudulently concealed the true character and quality of the 3rd Generation 4Runner and made intentionally false and fraudulent statements about the 4RUNNER and specifically the SUBJECT 4RUNNER through marketing, advertising, and promotional materials, by expressly and impliedly warranting that the SUBJECT 4RUNNER was safe for its intended purpose. The false and fraudulent statements included express misrepresentations of material fact concerning the character and quality of the product, materials used in its construction, and in the testing of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER.
  65. Plaintiffs and decedent ELISA OBEDIENTE justifiably relied upon these false misrepresentations and had no reasonable ability to discover the fraudulently concealed and affirmatively false information given to them by Defendants.
  66. The fraudulent acts and statements of the defendants included the following:
    • Falsely stating at page i of the Owner's Manual, "We are proud of the advanced engineering and quality construction of each vehicle we build" when defendants knew that the SUBJECT 4RUNNER not only lacked "advanced engineering" but did not have even the most "basic safety engineering" in that it lacked a safely engineered lower center of gravity, had too narrow a width, or tread, and too high a roof so as to make the vehicle extremely unstable and prone to rolling over on the highways at speeds as low as 33 mph, as demonstrated prior to the accident date by Toyota's own testing; in lacking readily available "advanced engineering" such as Electronic Stability Control, which defendants knew would prevent the type of rollover event that killed plaintiffs' decedent and which defendants had previously installed in numerous other TOYOTA and LEXUS vehicles as far back as 1995, both in the U.S. and in Japan; in failing to have "quality construction" as claimed by using weak and inferior gauge steel and inadequate strength support structures in the headers, roof rails and "A" and "B" posts despite readily available technology and materials to do so, especially in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER where the very high risk of rollovers and roof crush was well-known to defendants; in failing to incorporate other "basic" or "advanced" engineering and "quality construction" such as readily available laminated glass for the side windows which, in combination with stronger roof supports and deeper window channels, would have contained occupants such as plaintiffs' decedent and prevented her partial ejection with resulting blunt impact with lacerations of left cephalic vein and brachial artery branches and positional asphyxia resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries, especially in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER where the very high risk of rollovers and roof crush with shattering of tempered glass creating portals of ejection in the side windows was well-known to defendants; in failing to incorporate "basic engineering" and "quality construction" including readily available seatbelt technology such as cinching latch plates which would have better restrained plaintiffs' decedent and prevented vertical excursion toward and contact with the crushing and collapsing weak roof structure.
    • Fraudulently concealing and failing to disclose to the decedent, or other customers, that defendants had conducted "accident avoidance maneuver" tests, which simulated the type of steering inputs made by decedent and demonstrated two wheel "tip ups" at speeds as low as 33 mph, and withholding this critical information from decedent by not revealing it in the Owner's Manual or anywhere else, thereby deliberately lulling consumers such as plaintiffs' decedent into a false sense of security and inducing them to purchase the falsely advertised "advanced engineer(ed) and quality construct(ed)" SUBJECT 4RUNNER, when defendants knew that it was one of the most unsafe vehicles on the roadway because of all of its inherent defects and instability;
    • Fraudulently mis-stating, and deliberately minimizing the likelihood of rollovers on page 139 of the Owner's Manual by stating "(a) void sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers, if at all possible. As with other vehicles of this type, failure to operate this vehicle correctly may result in loss of control or vehicle rollover" when defendants knew that there would be everyday, common driving occurrences such as accident avoidance maneuvers, or road recovery maneuvers, that would be unavoidable and, given the inherent defects in the design and construction of the SUBJECT 4RUNNER would almost certainly result in rollovers with high morbidity and mortality rates which consumers and plaintiffs' decedent would be unaware of; in concealing and failing to disclose that there was a "risk of serious personal injury" without mentioning the very real risk of death, as occurred herein, if "sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers" resulted "in loss of control or vehicle rollover", when defendants for a long period of time prior to this incident knew of fatalities caused by 4RUNNER rollovers, thereby concealing and minimizing the true risk of harm to persons such as decedent;
    • Fraudulently failing to define "abrupt maneuvers" or to warn consumers such as decedent that "abrupt" accident avoidance maneuvers would naturally be expected to occur but that such driving conduct could result in a sudden and deadly rollover, as occurred herein, while hiding from consumers the substantial defects in stability and control, weak and inadequate roof strength, lack of protective laminated glass in the side windows, absence of readily available ESC, and lack of latching cinch plate safer seat belt technology all of which defendants knew had caused high statistical morbidity and mortality in prior 4RUNNER rollovers, thereby deliberately lulling consumers such as plaintiffs' decedent into a false sense of security and inducing them to purchase the falsely advertised "advanced engineer(ed) and quality construct(ed)"SUBJECT VEHICLE, when defendants knew that it was one of the most unsafe vehicles on the roadway because of all of its inherent defects and instability;
    • Fraudulently depicting, on page 32 of the Owner's Manual, a 4RUNNER in a "rollover" position showing no appreciable roof crush, or partial ejection of occupants, in order to deliberately mislead decedent and other consumers into believing such an event, if it occurred, would not pose any increased risk of harm, or death, even though defendants were well aware for many years of roof crush, partial ejections, and fatalities occurring in 4RUNNER rollovers which only the defendants knew were the result of all of the aforementioned defects in design and construction of the 4 RUNNER thereby deliberately lulling consumers such as plaintiffs' decedent into a false sense of security and inducing them to purchase the falsely advertised "advanced engineer(ed) and quality construct(ed)" SUBJECT 4RUNNER, when defendants knew that it was one of the most unsafe vehicles on the roadway because of all of its inherent defects and instability;
  67. plaintiffs' decedent received the Owner's Manual in the SUBJECT 4RUNNER when she purchased it, and she read and relied upon all of the false and fraudulent statements and fraudulently omitted safety information in buying and driving the SUBJECT 4RUNNER. Solely as a result of the fraudulent statements, misrepresentations and omissions of the defendants, which plaintiffs and plaintiffs' decedent relied upon, plaintiffs' decedent sustained severe blunt impact injuries with lacerations of left cephalic vein and brachial artery branches and positional asphyxia resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries, all to plaintiffs' detriment in a sum to be determined for pre-death pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses and wrongful death damages.
  68. The fraudulent conduct of defendants set forth above was of such a willful and wanton nature as to evidence a total disregard and indifference for the life, health and safety of consumers, and decedent herein, such that plaintiffs are entitled to an award of punitive damages against defendants.
  69. Solely as a result of the misrepresentations of the defendants, which plaintiffs and plaintiffs' decedent relied upon, plaintiffs' decedent sustained severe blunt impact injuries with lacerations of left cephalic vein and brachial artery branches and positional asphyxia resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries, all to plaintiffs' detriment in a sum to be determined for pre-death pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses and wrongful death damages.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray for judgment against defendants and each of them, as follows:
ON ALL CAUSES OF ACTION:

  1. For special and economic damages including, medical expenses, loss of past and future earnings and earning capacity, according to proof at trial;
  2. For general damages including damages and for loss of consortium;
  3. For prejudgment interest, as determined by and accrued according to applicable statutes;
  4. For costs of suit incurred herein; and
  5. For any other and further relief the Court deems just and proper. ALLEGATIONS SUPPORTING EXEMPLARY DAMAGES PRAYER ON FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION ONLY, BY JULIO OBEDIENTE, Individually and as Successor In Interest to the Estate of ELISA OBEDIENTE, CESAR OBEDIENTE, JULIO OBEDIENTE, JR., RAFAEL OBEDIENTE, amd SANDRA DUFFAU, AS AGAINST DEFENDANTS TOYOTA USA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, and DOES 1 through 25, Inclusive, ONLY
  6. Exemplary and punitive damages.

DATED: JULY 10, 2009 Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys

By:__________________________________
BRIAN D CHASE
JOHN V. BELL
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiffs hereby demand a trial by jury.

DATED: JULY 10, 2009 Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys

By:__________________________________
BRIAN D CHASE
JOHN V. BELL
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

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