Personal Injury Legal Cases
2007 Toyota Camry Unintented Acceleration Leads to Car Crash, Wrongful Death
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA 8 COUNTY OF ORANGE
CARMEN POKARD, Individually CASE NO: PHILIP ARABIAN, Individually and as the Hon. Successors in Interest to the Estate of Dept. 11
NINA ARABIAN, deceased [UNLIMITED crvn.j]
Plaintiff, COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES, WRONGFUL
DEATH AND SURVIVAL ACTION FOR:
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA (1. Strict Products Liability MOTOR SALES, USA, INC" and DOES I) 2. Negligent Product Liability through 100, inclusive,)
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL 16 Defendants. Complaint filed:
Comes now Plaintiffs CARMEN POKARD, Individually and PHILIP ARABIAN, Individually and as the Successors in Interest to the Estate of NINA ARABIAN, deceased, for causes of action against Defendants, and each of them, allege as follows:
ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION
- At all times herein mentioned, Plaintiffs were and are competent adults and residents of the County of Orange, State of California, and the natural daughter and husband of the decedent NINA ARABIAN.
Plaintiffs were and are the lawful heirs of the decedent and bring this action as a
survival action, pursuant to California Code a/Civil Procedure § 377.32, and also bringthis action as a wrongful death action, pursuant to CiC], §377.60, for the wrongful death of their mother and wife.
- At all times mentioned herein, defendant, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC. is and was a corporation,duly organized and existing pursuant to the laws of the State of California,with its principal place of business in the City of Torrance, in the County of Los Angeles, State of California. Defendant, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC. is and was a citizen of the State of California.
- At all times herein mentioned, defendant TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION is and was a corporation, organized and existing pursuant to the laws of Japan, with its principal place of business in Tokyo, Japan. Defendant, TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, is and was a citizen of Japan.
- Plaintiffs are informed and believe and allege there on that defendants, DOES 1through 100,inclusive, were and are individuals,partnerships, corporations,and/or business entities,qualified and/or authorized to do business in the State of California and were at all times herein mentioned, doing business with in the State of California,in the Counties of Las Angeles and San Diego. The true names and 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 saiddefendants are ascertained, plaintiff will seek leave of this court to amend the complaint accordingly.
- Plaintiffs are informed and believe and allege there on 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 defendants own negligence or through the conduct of its agents, servants, employees or representatives in some other manner.
- Plaintiffs are informed and believe and allege there on that at all times mentioned herein the defendants and each of them were the agents, servants, employees, representatives and/or joint venturers of the irco-defendants and were, as such acting within the course,scope and authority ofsaid 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.
- Plaintiffs are informed and believe and allege thereon that at all times mentioned herein each of the defendants, including Defendant Does I 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.
- At all times mentioned herein, Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC. and DOES I through 100, were and are engaged in thc business of manufacturing, fabricating. designing. assembling. distributing. selling. inspecting, servicing. repairing, marketing. warranting, leasing. renting. selling, retailing. wholesaling and advertising a certain subject 2007 Toyota Camry, license plate number California 5WXE247, VIN JTNBE46K873048196 (hereinafter "SUBJECT VEHICLE"), and each and every componentpart 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 ofCalifornia and elsewhere.
- At no time at or prior to such sale did said Defendants ever issue any warnings or notifications about any dangers or safety issues extant in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, nor did said Defendants ever advise the driver Philip Arabian or the decedent that the vehicle was not mechanicall y sound or unsafe to operate.
- On or about August 14,2008, the decedent NINA ARABIAN was a properly restrained passenger in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, traveling west on Hillsborough Road. when the driver lost control of the SUBJECT VEHICLE and collided with the gate control box affixed on the landscaped area adjacent to the south curbline of Hillsborough, causing fatal injuries to her. The decedent survived for a short period of time after the accident, before being transported to and expiring at Mission Hospital.
- Plaintiffs re-allege and incorporate by reference each of paragraphs I through II, above, as though fully set forth herein.
- Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES,USA, INC. and DOES I through 100, and each of them, knew that the SUBJECT VEHICLE was to be purchased and used without inspection for defects by the users of that vehicle, including but not limited to the plaintiffs' decedent and the driver thereof.
- The SUBJECT VEHICLE and each of its component parts was manufactured, designed, assembled, packaged, tested, fabricated, analyzed, inspected, merchandised, marketed, distributed, labeled, advertised, promoted, sold, supplied, leased, rented, repaired, 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.
These SUBJECT DEFECTS included, but were not limited to the following.
- Toyota also has a pattern, practice or policy or making its event data recorders ("EDRs") or black boxes unreadable by anyone but Toyota itself, for the express purpose of obstructing the ability togather information by law enforcement, NHTSA, and injured victims.
- The vehicle was the subject of specific representations by Toyota to NHTSA, and instructions from Toyota to address unintended acceleration problems caused in part by unsecured floor mats.
- It was specifically known to Toyota that it had a serious problem regarding unintended acceleration caused by, inter alia, unsecured floor mats, losing braking efficiency when the throttle plate was open requiring in excess of 150 pounds offorce versus the normal 30, inability of drivers in unintended acceleration situations to get the vehicle in neutral or tum thevehicle off, a lack of a brake to idle algorithm which would bring the engine to idle when both the accelerator and brake are activated, as well as unspecified dangerous conditions causing the vehicle tomalfunction under ordinary and expected use.
- The SUBJECT VEHICLE was unreasonably unsafe and defective as specified above due to its known tendency for unintended and uncontrollable acceleration while in ordinary and expected use.
- Defendants at all material times. were, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been aware of the evidence of the Defect, but nevertheless maintain a practice of not disclosing to customers all of its research data or information on the Defect. Defendants were aware that preventable and foreseeable deaths and server injuries have been caused by the Defect for a number of years. This awareness comes from studies conducted by Defendants' companies and others; from data collected by or for NHTSA; from specific reports of incidents; and from prior lawsuits.
- The death of Nina Arabian would not have occurred, or injuries incurred would have been substantially less severe, had the Carmy not had the defects described herein.
At the time of design, manufacture, distribution, marketing, advertising, distribution, sale and continuing thereafter, the SUBJECT VEHICLE was in a defective, dangerous and unreasonable
condition for use by the Plaintiff in that the Defendants:
- Improperly and/or inadequately designed the car;
- Improperly and/or inadequately manufactured, constructed, formulated, fabricated and/or created the car;
- Failed to properly inspect and/or test the car;
- Failed to properly warn and/or install warnings or instructions to the user, dealer, purchaser, seller and/or agents of the user about the hazards and dangers associated with the car, either before or after the sale;
- Failed to establish proper and adequate safety design, risk management analysis to the design and manufacturing of the car;
- Advertised marketed and/or promoted its product when it knew orshould have known of its unsafe and dangerous propensities;
- The above described conditions were a substantial factor in producing the Plaintiff's injuries and damages hereinbefore alleged.
- Failure to warn regarding the above defects.
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES, WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL ACTION
- Said product and each of its component parts were unsafe for its intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuses by reason of the defects in its design and/or manufacturing andlor failure towarn bysaid Defendants,andeach ofthem. inthat when the SUBJECTVEHICLEandeach of its component parts were used by Plaintiffs' decedent on or about August 14,2000, as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, the SUBJECT VEHICLE, during reasonably foreseeable driving maneuvers, was dangerous and did suffer a loss of control causing ultimately fatal injuries to Plaintiff's decedent, legally resulting in Plaintiffs' damages as set forth herein.
- As a direct and legal result of the defects in the SUBJECT VEHICLE and its components and subcomponents, Plaintiffs have suffered wrongful death damages, including special and general damages in a sum in excess of the minimum subject matter jurisdiction of this Superior Court according to proof at trial.
- Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES,USA, INC. and DOES I through 100, inclusive, on information and belief, all further knew and were well aware from numerous, prior accidents, injuries, lawsuits and claims, that their seat belt buckles and restraints systems furnished for installation in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, were prone to false and inertial unlatching, and inadvertent unlatching from slight inadvertent but fully foreseeable contact with the buckle latch during an accident sequence, and that such seat belt buckles would in fact unlatch and leave properly-restrained occupants of the SUBJECT VEHICLE suddenly unrestrained and susceptible to ejection during an accident when otherwise properly restrained at the commencement of the accident, yet said Defendants and each of them intentionally elected not to effectuate corrections to the design and/or manufacture of such buckles and restraints systems, thus knowingly and intentionally exposing Plaintiffs' decedent and other occupants of vehicles such as the SUBJECT VEHICLE to death and serious injury all to advance said Defendants' pecuniary interests in the form of avoiding increased expense of effectuating improvements in their buckles and restraints systems (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 components; (2) to avoid disclosure during re-certification and retooling processes of the fact that said Defendant, knew their previously-manufactured buckles and restraints systems were defective and unsafe, which would greatly increase adverse publicity and said Defendants' legal exposure in cases brought arising from accident and injuries occurring in production vehicles already in use by the public; and (3) to avoid taking action which would result in disclosures potentially leading to an expensive recall campaign by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
- The actions of said Defendants and each of them, as herein described, 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 VEHICLE, in order to advance the pecuniary gains of the Defendants and each of them, and were despicable because such aforesaid conduct would and does kill people, and cause serious and life changing injuries, including but not limited to permanent paralysis, including but not limited to the Plaintiffs' decedent, during the course of the accident which is the subject of this lawsuit.
- Plaintiffs further allege that the conduct of the defendants was undertaken with the result that the SUBJECT VEHICLE'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 SUBJECT VEHICLE.
- As a direct and legal result of the aforementioned conduct of Defendants and each of them, an award of exemplary and punitive damages against Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC. and DOES 1 through 100,and each of them is proper and appropriate to punish said Defendants and to deter such conduct in the future. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION (Negligence Product Liability against Against Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA,INC. and DOES 1 through 100 Inclusive)
- Plaintiffs incorporate, repeat and re-allege each and every allegation in paragraphs 1 through 21, inclusive, and hereby incorporates the same by reference as though set forth in detail.
- 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.
- At all times mentioned, defendants and each of them and DOES 1 through 100 knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known that said SUBJECT VEHICLE and each of its components parts 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 that it was likely to injure the person who used said product, each of its component parts and/or aftermarket parts and/or installation guides.
- 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 VEHICLE and each of its component parts 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 members of the public, including plaintiffs' decedent. In particular, the SUBJECT VEHICLE and each of its component parts during a reasonably foreseeable maneuverwas unstable, dangerous and would rollover with roof crushing instability causing injury and death to its occupants, as alleged herein. In addition, the SUBJECT VEHICLE and each of its component parts during a reasonably foreseeable driving maneuver made with due care was unstable and dangerous.
- As a direct and legal result of the negligence, carelessness, and unlawful conduct of the defendants, and each of them, and the defects inherent in the SUBJECT VEHICLE, Plaintiffshave suffered the wrongful death damages as alleged herein.
WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray for judgment against defendants and each of them, as follows:
- For special and economic damages including, medical expenses, loss ofpastand future earnings and earning capacity, according to proof at trial;
- For funeral and burial expenses, according to proof at trial;
- For general damages including damages for loss of wrongful death, personal injuries, pain and suffering and permanency; including damages for loss of consortium;
- For prejudgment interest, as determined by and accrued according to applicable statutes;
- For costs of suit incurred herein;
- For any other and further relief the Court deems just and proper;
- For exemplary and punitive damages on the first and second causes of action only, against Defendants TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION,TOYOTA MOTOR SALES,USA, INC.and Does, only, by Plaintiffs only in their capacity as the successors in interest to the Estate of NINA ARABIAN, deceased; and
- Forany other and further relief the Court deems just and proper.
DATED: August 2010 Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
IS By: BRIAN D. CHASE, Esq. Attorneys for Plaintiffs