Jury Rules For Toyota in Unintended Acceleration Case

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In what was a legal and automotive drama that began almost two years ago, a New York jury has just ruled that Toyota is not responsible for an accident that involved Dr. Amir Sitafalwalla, an emergency room surgeon. Sitafalwalla filed a lawsuit against the Japanese automaker claiming that his 2005 Scion tC began to accelerate on its own due to either a electronic throttle problem or a faulty floor mat. As a result, he drove into a tree.

However, the judge earlier ruled out evidence regarding the electronics, which left the floor mat issue. The lawyer for Toyota, John Randolph Bibb, Jr., stated to the jury that "it's just not physically possible" for the Scion tC's floor mat to "entrap the accelerator pedal." He further claimed that it was in fact Sitafalwalla who "made a mistake in the operation" of his car..."he made a simple, unfortunate mistake." Jurors apparently agreed with Toyota, as they deliberated for less than an hour.

Juror Penny Overback said "it was all about how the mat came into play and obviously it didn't," stating her vote was heavily influenced by the video testing Toyota conducted over the issue. An appeal by Sitafalwalla is still uncertain, but Toyota is still facing hundreds of similar lawsuits over the issue.

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