Evidence Toyota Knew of Defective Break Override System Allowed in Florida
Man’s Catastrophic Vehicular Injury Trial
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- August 5, 2014
A Florida man who sustained catastrophic injuries that rendered him a
quadriplegic when his 2002 Toyota Camry unexpectedly went out of control can
present evidence in court that Toyota Motor Corporation and other defendants
knew that the break override and Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS)
were defective, resulting in unintended accelerations that have caused
numerous deaths and injuries, a Florida Circuit Court ruled on Monday.
“The Toyota defendants misleadingly promised safety and trust, while at the
same time purposely concealed evidence of electronic defects in its vehicles
from the American public, and hid its own knowledge of an alarming number of
incidents of unintended accelerations, deaths and injuries,” said Theodore J.
Leopold, of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, who represents Bret Quinlan,
in his products liability action against Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota
Manufacturing Motor, Toyota Motor North American, Inc., Toyota Motor Sales
USA, Inc., and King Automotive Management, LLC.
On July 17, 2011, Quinlan was driving the U.S.-manufactured Camry on Florida
State Road 551 when the vehicle suddenly went out of control and ran into a
building in Orlando, Fla. As a result, Quinlan suffered permanent,
catastrophic injuries, including spine and spinal cord damage that resulted in
his becoming quadriplegic.
Quinlan’s original complaint, filed against the defendants in September 2012
in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, cited unintended acceleration as a
possible cause of the accident and also blamed defective spot welding during
the manufacturing and assembly process that resulted in a failure of the floor
pan structure. Due to Toyota’s publicly denying that its vehicles were
susceptible to problems of unintended acceleration, those allegations were
dropped from an amended complaint.
However, in March 2014, Toyota entered into a deferred prosecution agreement
with the United States Department of Justice in which the company admitted
that it mislead consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about
safety issues affecting its vehicles that caused types of unintended
acceleration. Toyota subsequently agreed to pay a $1.2 billion financial
penalty – to date the largest imposed on a motor vehicle manufacturer. Also,
recently many damaging Toyota documents have come to light during the course
of unintended acceleration jury trials that have cast a dark shadow on
Toyota’s actions in terms of what they knew, when they knew, and issues of
Additionally, after removing the unintended acceleration allegation from his
complaint, Quinlan received notice that the Camry was included in a class
action lawsuit against Toyota based on the ETCS defect. Further discovery
found Toyota had received more than 37,900 complaints concerning the ETCS,
which have been installed in Toyota-brand vehicles sold in the United States
In granting Quinlan’s third amended complaint, the Circuit Court for the 15^th
Judicial Circuit, paved the way for evidence of unintended acceleration as a
cause of Quinlan’s devastating accident to be brought to trial before a jury.
A trial date has not yet been set. Quinlan is seeking compensatory damages
resulting from the accident and will shortly be moving for punitive damages
from all of the Toyota defendants.
In addition to Leopold, who has been litigating product liability cases
nationwide for more than 20 years, Quinlan is represented by Leslie M. Kroeger
and Adam J. Langino, both of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
For more information about the case, Brent Quinlin v. Toyota Motor Corporation
et al., or to view a copy of the amended complaint, visit
Founded in 1969, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is a national leader in
plaintiff class action lawsuits and litigation. As one of the premier firms in
the country handling major complex cases, including product liability actions,
Cohen Milstein, with80 attorneys, has offices in Washington, D.C., New York,
Philadelphia, Chicago, and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. For more information,
visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com or call (202) 408-4600.
Editor’s Note: Copy of Amended Complaint Available
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
Pam Avery, 402-305-0799
Natasha Diemer, 561-515-1400
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