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Toyota Attempting To Block Executive Testimony

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On: Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 11:48AM | By: John Welch

Toyota Attempting To Block Executive Testimony

LLCoolT! The Lawyers Love Cool Toyota! Toyota has dug such a bottomless pit for themselves, that even instances where it is hard to believe that the Toyota vehicle caused a death, and not driver error, acquire nasty headlines like "Toyota Attempting To Block Executive Testimony!!!" I mean, I'm sorry, Toyota; I tend to side with you on this one, but that is the headline because that is what's happening.

So, just the facts, Friday. A 78-year-old woman, Guadalupe Alberto, was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry when it accelerated out of control, veering towards and smashing into an oak tree, killing Mrs. Alberto instantly. This happened in Flint, Michigan in April of 2008. The family is attempting to take Toyota to the cleaners.

Uhm, well, no offense, but the elderly may have mistaken a gas pedal for a brake pedal once or twice over the course of American history. That being said, Tough Rocks, Toyota! You sold cars that thrash, kill, and maim, youse got's dis come'n!

The appeal was filed late Monday after a Flint, Michigan-area judge denied a motion to keep the two executives, Toyota Motor North America President Yoshi Inaba and Jim Lentz, head of U.S. sales for Toyota, from being questioned by lawyers for the family of Guadalupe Alberto. Making Inaba and Lentz answer questions of opposing counsel before the trial "would be unduly burdensome, harassing, and would subject these apex-level employees to deposition in nearly every product liability case filed against (Toyota Motor Sales USA)," the company's attorneys said in a filing with the Michigan appeals court.

Toyota said the two need not appear for depositions that had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday and that the case should be litigated without the depositions. Exactly what are they supposed to say at these hearings anyway? Does anyone expect them to try to sweep some unknown evil under the rug? I doubt it. This story has been picked clean already; I don't think much else is going to come to light. Unless, of course, there have been unreported cases of Matrixes breaking into nursing homes in the dead of night, attempting to steal the Phentanyl patches off of the backs of sleeping octogenarians. I haven't heard that yet, and, if you buy media-spin, that is the sort of story we are going to hear next. That or an amusing yarn about a Highlander that likes to kick stray dogs.

The Camry model that Alberto was driving was not among the 8.5 million Toyotas recalled globally in the past half year. The Alberto case in Michigan is just one of dozens that have been filed in the United States against Toyota that in general claim that the automaker should have known about flaws to some of its vehicles that could cause unintended acceleration.


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