“Toyota Agrees to Settlement in Fatal Acceleration Crash”

From the Times, and it’s important because the article points out that by agreeing to a settlement in this one case, Toyota has opened itself up for many further lawsuits/settlements:

Toyota agreed on Friday to a settlement with the families of two women in a fatal crash the morning after an Oklahoma jury became the first to find the company responsible for the unintended acceleration of a car.

The verdict came after Toyota had won its first three trials over the acceleration issue. Legal analysts said it could embolden plaintiffs in hundreds of other lawsuits that have been filed against the automaker.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. On Thursday, the jury awarded the families of two Oklahoma women $1.5 million each in compensatory damages, determining that the 2005 Camry they were riding in suddenly accelerated through an intersection and hit an embankment in 2007. The driver, Jean Bookout, 82, was injured, and her passenger, Barbara Schwarz, 70, died.

The jury found that Toyota had acted with “reckless disregard,” despite reports of problems with its cars, and as a result was about to begin deliberations on punitive damages when the settlement was announced. Punitive damages can carry far higher awards.

Here’s the whole piece: Toyota Agrees to Settlement in Fatal Acceleration Crash – NYTimes.com.

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