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MIAMI— Coral Gables, Fla.-based trial law firm Colson Hicks Eidson filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on March 3 on behalf of plaintiffs Sharlene Cohen-Goldberg, Tiffany Jones, Thelma Reid and other Florida and national class members and similarly situated plaintiffs against defendants Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Toyota Motor Corp. and their affiliates, the firm has announced.
The complaint alleges that the defendants knowingly designed, manufactured, distributed and sold certain automobiles equipped with the Electronic Throttle Control System with Intelligence (ETCS-i) that is defective and can cause sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) of the vehicle engine.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs allege that Toyota and Lexus vehicles equipped with the ETCS-i are defective and unsafe and are susceptible to incidents of SUA, rendering such vehicles uncontrollable. The plaintiffs further allege that the defendants failed to incorporate important failsafe measures critical to assisting a driver in maintaining control of the vehicle during an SUA event. One such failsafe measure is a computer algorithm that will direct the ETCS-i to automatically reduce the engine to idle when the brakes are being applied while the throttle is in an unintended open position. This measure, also referred to as “brake-to-idle” algorithm or simply “brake over-ride”, has been incorporated by other automobile manufactures in vehicles designed with electronic throttle control for years. According to the lawsuit, brake override will eliminate sudden unintended acceleration problems regardless of the cause and many other manufacturers already incorporate this feature in their vehicles. Toyota has announced that it will incorporate brake override in its vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year.
Since the introduction of ETCS-i, more than 2,600 complaints of SUA have been made to the Toyota Defendants and government agencies. According to the suit, ETCS-i has resulted in automobile accidents causing more than 34 deaths and hundreds of accidents and injuries over the past decade and these numbers are likely underreported. More than 6 million vehicles have been recalled by Toyota.
Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with more than 40 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation. For more information, visit www.colson.com.