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Toyota Liable for Software Defects in Unintended Acceleration Case

On October 24, 2013, an Oklahoma jury found Toyota acted with "reckless disregard" for others and awarded Jean Bookout $1.5 million dollars and the family of the deceased passenger, Barbara Schwarz $1.5 million. Toyota apparently settled the punitive damages claim this morning, undoubtedly for a confidential amount. Arguments were set for Friday, October 25, 2013 regarding the amount of punitive damages. The Bookout case was the most significant case to go to trial, but not because of the verdict. Auburn alum and super fan, Graham Esdale, led the Beasley Allen team of lawyers in the first case to trial, alleging a software defect contributed to unintended acceleration. Three other plaintiff bellwether cases will go to trial in the next year: Alberto v. Toyota will be tried beginning on February 19, 2014 in Flint Michigan by Ben Bailey and Eric Snyder from Bailey & Glasser, LLP: Dushane v. Toyota begins on April 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California; and Kristensen Weisberg's case, Chaudhary v. Toyota, will begin on October 14, 2014, also in Los Angeles. The Chaudhary case involves a 2009 Toyota Camry that underwent a significant unintended acceleration event in excess of 45 seconds on March 13, 2013. Mussarat Chaudhary ended up trapped in her vehicle in the Sacramento River, despite her attempts to brake and slow down the vehicle. Mrs. Chaudhary could not escape the rising river and perished before help could arrive.

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