CategoryToyota Lawsuit

Koua Fong Lee, The Man

With the Toyota trial coming up Nov. 3rd in Minneapolis, I have been reflecting on Koua’s original trial in 2007 when tragic, crucial mistakes and oversights costed Koua his freedom. One thing I didn’t hear the media talk much about back then was Koua Fong Lee, the man. Even though I wrote in my book, A Road To Freedom, about who Koua is, I’d like to take a moment and write about him here.

Koua speaks five languages and received a college degree this summer. He volunteered every day at church for a year after he was freed in 2010. After that first year, he traveled to the southern U.S. states to help rebuild houses for a month in the torn towns destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Koua has had to relive his tragic accident over and over by making several appearances to help get a new law established in Minnesota to help the wrongly convicted AFTER they have been fully exonerated and proven to be completely innocent.  Koua never gave up on humanity and now he is pursuing his passion to be a social worker so he can help others as a career.

Koua was raised in Laos during the Vietnam War and he and his family had to hide out in the jungles in order to survive. Eventually, Koua made it to a refugee camp in Thailand and many years later, he was allowed to settle in the U.S.  He and his family have a very high regard for education and hard work. His wife received her BA degree last year and works full-time. They are an amazing family and are always volunteering to help others.

I remember when Good Morning America interviewed Koua right after he was freed and they asked him, “what’ s the first thing you want to do?” His reply was, “I want to teach my kids what the word daddy means, because right now, they don’t know what that word means”. I will never forget that.

First Lawsuit Regarding Mechanical Throttle in Toyota’s Sudden Unintended Acceleration Starts November 3, 2014

I should have mentioned in my last blog that the trial beginning November 3, 2014 before the Honorable Judge Ann Montgomery is the first lawsuit against Toyota for the mechanical throttle in the ’96 and ’95 Camry. Depending on the outcome of this two week trial, many more lawsuits could follow.

Like I said last week, when over 40 people come forward signing an affidavit claiming the exact same sudden unintended acceleration (accompanied by complete loss of brakes) happened in their ’96 or ’95 Camry, obviously something is wrong.

I used to find it surprising that many of these drivers brought their vehicles to a dealer or mechanic only to find no fault code had shown up in the computer indicating anything had gone wrong; but, now that I have learned there IS no fault code for SUA, it all makes sense. SUA is completely non traceable. However, that doesn’t mean something didn’t go wrong.

Looking forward to this trial and hoping for justice to prevail.

Lawsuit Against Toyota begins November 3, 2014 in Minneapolis Federal Courthouse

This trial is expected to last two weeks and will start on November 3, 2014 before the Honorable Judge Ann Montgomery at 9:00 a.m. Some of the parties that have filed suit against Toyota in this case include American Family Insurance, Trice and Adams family members (they lost their loved ones in the accident which took place in June of 2006), and others who were injured during the accident.

The accident involved a 1996 Toyota Camry that suddenly unintentionally accelerated as the driver was exiting the highway in St. Paul, MN. He tried stopping the vehicle more than once, but the brakes did not work. Dozens of other drivers came forward after the driver was imprisoned claiming the exact same thing happened to them in the same make and model vehicle. Some of those cars were manufactured at the same plant as the driver’s car, one on the same production line (assembled within minutes of each other). Sounds to me like something is wrong with the vehicle and it is not driver error. Just a hunch though.

Stay tuned.

Fault Code for Sudden Unintended Acceleration Doesn’t Exist in Automobile Computers

During a recent conversation with an auto store employee, the employee mentioned something about fault codes in computers on cars. I replied to him, “just remember, a computer can only put out a code if that code has been pre programmed into the computer”. This made me realize that maybe there is no fault code in certain vehicles for SUA (sudden unintended acceleration). I made a phone call to an expert forensic engineer who has studied SUA accidents for over 25 years. He stated that NO vehicles have a fault code for SUA, they simply don’t exist. This explains why so many drivers who experienced SUA and brought their vehicles into the dealership or mechanic, had no codes appear showing that anything had gone wrong. In my mind, this can not be used as a defense implying that nothing actually did go wrong, but rather that there is no code for what did go wrong. (Assuming the person experienced SUA).

2014 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Nominees

Congratulations to these four lawyers/finalists for their work on litigation related to Toyota sudden unintended acceleration in the Bookout vs. Toyota case in 2013.

New Michael Morton Law for Texas in favor of Justice

This is a great article regarding a new law in Texas that allows Texas to hold prosecutors (or other law enforcement officers) responsible for withholding evidence. In Michael Morton’s case, evidence that would have found him innocent. Instead he spent over 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This bill has been named in his honor.

Toyota Wrongful Death Lawsuit later this year in Minneapolis

Below is a picture of Koua, his wife, Panghoua and myself when Koua spoke at a benefit for Minnesota Innocence Project. The only thing Koua and his wife ever asked for was for people to pray for the Adams and Trice families who lost their loved ones. The Adams and Trice families have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota which will be held later this year in Minneapolis Federal Court. This case is separate from the other Toyota lawsuits since this involves a 1996 Toyota which was not covered in previous recalls for sudden unintended acceleration. Stay tuned.
Koua Panghoua and myself

Link to View the Moment Koua Fong Lee was Reunited with his Children

To view the video of Koua Fong Lee being reunited with his kids (filmed by Good Morning America),  go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRUeqoC2TQQ

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