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Jury’s Decision Was Unanimous Against Toyota in Liability Lawsuit in Minneapolis, MN 2015

Looks like the jury’s decision was unanimous in the liability lawsuit against Toyota according to a quote in the following article.  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hilliard-reports-judge-denies-toyota-new-trial-affirms-verdict–1406248302-300099528.html

Toyota has one appeal that they could still file (if they choose and I’m guessing they will) and that will be to file with the 8th District Court of Appeals. After that, no more appeals left to file.

Toyota Loses Appeal in Liability Lawsuit in Minneapolis, MN

http://www.startribune.com/toyota-loses-bid-for-new-trial-in-fatal-2006-crash-in-st-paul/307457761/

Toyota Hearing Asking For $4 Million From Accident Victim will be April 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Toyota has filed two motions since the guilty verdict against them. 1) To have the guilty verdict (by a jury) overturned by the judge; and 2) To have Koua Fong Lee (the driver who survived his horrible crash due to the defect in his ’96 Camry) pay $4 million of the $11 million Toyota has been court ordered to pay to all victims.

I can’t believe a company would ask one of the victims to pay part of their penalty for their design defect.

The hearing will be Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. before The Honorable Judge Ann Montgomery, U.S. Federal Courthouse downtown Minneapolis. I will take notes once again and post an update.

Toyota Asks Judge to Overturn Verdict in 1996 Camry Liability Lawsuit

Toyota was found guilty of the design defect found in the 1996 Camry accelerator control system. They were found to be 60% at fault for the accident involving the ’96 Camry driven by Koua Fong Lee. I do not agree with that 60/40 decision and I would love to hear from one of the jurors what their explanation is for how they came up with that number. If there was no defect, there would be no accident.

Toyota has filed papers asking the judge to overturn the verdict.

A link to the article is below and my comments on the article are as follows:

Stilson explained why he rotated that tab – it was because the tab on the CC lever was sticking to the pulley and he said it wasn’t supposed to do that. He showed the jury and the court room how rotating the tab on the cruise control lever did not at all affect any function of the CC or accelerator and he demonstrated that. Re the 3 other drivers who testified that the exact same thing happened in their 1996 Camry – let’s see, one was flown here from Iraq during his 9 month tour as a pilot – he flies a black hawk and also flies for Sun Country Airlines. He’s double trained on how to handle engine failures and engine problems. His ’96 Camry was manufactured at the same factory as Mr. Lee’s, in fact made on the same production line – made within minutes of Koua’s Camry. This pilot testified he drove home one day going 45 mph without ever once having to step on the gas – he just kept shutting off his car to keep it from exceeding 45 mph, and he said every time he would restart the car, the RPMs spiked up to 5000 immediately – with both feet on the floor. That is a stuck throttle. The other 2 who testified that the same exact thing happened to their ’96 Camry – one was a retired air force pilot who now volunteers for a VA hosp, one a former VP of Province College. One of them could only get their ’96 Camry to slow down to 95 mph and that was with both feet on the brake pedal. You can’t stop a car with ABS while the throttle is stuck open. It doesn’t happen.

If Toyota really wanted to prove that the upper plastic pulley isn’t sticking against the metal bracket it’s attached to, then they should have conducted some tests of their own. I saw no test results from them after the pulleys had been installed. The only test results shown in the court room on behalf of Toyota was a tensile strength test of the nylon resin material – well you don’t use a tensile strength test when you’re trying to figure out if a plastic pulley can withstand a certain amount of heat while it’s resting against a metal plate.

I heard testimonies from 11 others during Mr. Lee’s Evidentiary Hearing in 2010 when he was freed and fully exonerated. All 11 said the exact same thing, the Camry took off on it’s own and they could not get it to stop by only using the brakes. You can’t build up vacuum pressure when your throttle is stuck open if you have ABS brakes. Who does Toyota think the jury and judge should believe? The 3 drivers who testified at the recent liability lawsuit (who had nothing to gain by testifying and were not paid one red cent to testify?) or the people Toyota paid millions to for testifying. Bob Hilliard exposed during this liability lawsuit that Exponent was paid $42 million + from Toyota alone. In 2009 and again in 2011 – $31 million in payments from Toyota to Exponent. Bob also pointed out Exponent was the company who tested asbestos in brakes and claimed it was safe, Exponent tested a contaminant in drinking water and said it was safe (it was proven later to cause cancer), and Exponent did the Ford roof crush test and said it passed when later was found not to be safe. Seems like Exponent will say whatever their client wants them to say.

“Expert” Lee Carr testified for Toyota – who showed a video of a 60 yr old woman who apparently was driving while they were video taping her. It was a split screen and you could see her feet in one corner, her hands on the steering wheel in another corner, and the road ahead through the windshield in another section of the video. Lee Carr said this woman had been “driving along” their course when they intentionally opened up her throttle to video tape her reaction. Well she started stepping on the gas pedal. BUT, Bob Hilliard played that video back during his closing argument and had the courtroom watch the video again. Funny thing is the odometer read only 1 mph on her vehicle – was she really driving? Lee Carr said this woman swerved in a zig zag motion in and out of some cones but during the reply in Bob’s closing statement, we saw that her hands never moved the steering wheel at all – and we saw no cones on the course. Hmmmm Bob pointed out that Lee Carr and his partner Karl Stopchinski were paid $1.4 million for this case. I’d say they were a little overpaid. You know how much Bob Hilliard paid for his 2 independent engineers to conduct their tests?  less than $65,000. I think I’ll take the word of those who testified who had nothing to gain by doing so.

Here’s the link to the article

http://www.startribune.com/local/295024531.html

Toyota’s True Colors Showing When They Ask Victims of Accident to Pay Up

This is what Toyota is asking AFTER being found guilty of a design defect in the 1996 Camry. Really Toyota? You object to being asked to pay $10.9 million to the family who lost their loved ones and those who suffered as a result of this accident when your defect was the cause of the accident? Well I object that you never tested the accelerator control system after switching to these plastic pulleys, and I object to how little you care about the safety of your drivers and passengers.

Actually Toyota, you are the ones who should reimburse the insurance company for funeral expenses and medical expenses for the victims, not the victims themselves. Being found 60% negligent for this accident means your defect was the main or biggest cause of the accident. Seems pretty clear to me.

I made a few comments on the article posted below. I’m guessing this is Toyota’s answer to Bob Hilliard’s recent filing asking Toyota to pay pre trial and post trial interest on the money which was awarded to Koua Fong Lee as a result of his accident while driving this deadly weapon. This interest will continue to accumulate until Toyota makes payment to Koua.

It is close to impossible to stop a vehicle that has ABS brakes while the throttle is stuck open. ABS brakes were not designed to work with a stuck open throttle – ask any expert in the field. Brakes need to be wired separate so that when there is a fail in the acceleration or cruise control, there won’t also be a fail in the brakes. As of right now, the brakes are wired in the same unit as the accelerator cable and the cruise control. That’s not good. As explained in my book, if an elevator fails and starts falling, you can push the stop button to make the elevator stop – that’s because the stop button is wired separately. So even if there’s a fail in the elevator system/wiring, the stop button will not be affected by that fail. Not so with ABS brakes, they are not wired separately. If you want to learn more info about this, you can visit www.forensicfacts.com

Here’s the article I’m referring to:

http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/292311981.html

Bob Hilliard Startled Courtroom in 1996 Toyota Camry Liability Lawsuit

Bob Hilliard certainly knows how to deliver a closing argument. Lee Carr of Carr Engineering had been on the stand all morning on this last day of the trial. I missed most of Carr’s testimony due to other commitments, but I was present during Bob’s cross examination of Carr and I heard both closing arguments.

Lee Carr had shown a video during his testimony (he was a witness for the defense (Toyota). Mr. Carrr said his firm had conducted some road tests on their course and they video taped various driver’s reactions  to show how people would react when the  vehicle they’re driving experiences a stuck throttle. One of the drivers tested was of a 60 yr old female who had supposedly accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake when the car experienced this intentional stuck throttle. The video showed different screen shots all at once: one of the driver’s hands on the steering wheel, one of the driver’s feet showing what the feet were doing, and one showed a view of the course ahead through the windshield.

When Mr. Carrr played the video, he pointed out (with bullet points on the screen at conclusion) that this woman had been “driving along” on the course when they intentionally opened up the throttle on the vehicle. Mr. Carr said this 60 yr old woman had swerved in a zig-zag motion around some cones, but the main focus was on her feet. Suddenly after the throttle supposedly stuck open, the video showed her pumping the gas pedal (instead of the brake). Well Mr. Hilliard used this evidence against Toyota and Mr. Carr in his closing statement. According to Star Tribune who covered this case, Carr Engineering had been retained for $1.4 million for this trial and  Carr Engr had received a total of $34 million from car manufacturers over a period of time. I should mention the $1.4 million included the services/testimony of Karl Stopchinksi as well.

When Mr. Hilliard played the video during his closing argument he pointed out the three bullet points in the summary portion of Carr’s video. #1) Mr. Carr said this woman had been “driving along”. However, Mr. Hilliard pointed out the odometer in the video as we watched the video again. Mr. Hilliard paused the video at the point just prior to the woman pumping the gas pedal – so this would have been just prior to the throttle becoming intentionally stuck open. Well Bob pointed out the odometer showed she was driving 1 mph – yes one mph. Mr. Carr said she had been “driving along”.

2nd bullet point: Mr. Carr said the woman drove in a zig-zag pattern to avoid the cones. As mentioned earlier, one of the screen shots was of the driver’s hands on the steering wheel. Mr. Hilliard asked the jury to watch the driver’s hands ONLY and notice how her hands never move  and the steering wheel never moves. In order to move in a zig-zag pattern, you have to turn the steering wheel back and forth some, but it never happened in this video. Her hands remained still and calm and were located on the bottom portion of the steering wheel.  Her hands weren’t even in the 10:00 and 2:00 position.

Third bullet point of Mr. Carr’s: she had swerved around some cones. Mr. Hilliard asked us to focus on the screen shot of the course ahead as this woman is supposedly driving. He asked the jury, “do you see any cones anywhere?” There were none that we could see. Was Mr. Carr’s testimony of this video really the truth? Based on what I saw, I would have to say no. Actually, I don’t see how any of Mr. Carr’s testimony can be trusted. By the way, you know how much Mr. Hilliard paid for his two engineers who conducted tests and testified? $55-$65 thousand.

More of Mr. Hilliard’s compelling closing argument will be in my next post.

Toyota Case Going to Jury 1-28-15 In ’96 Camry Stuck Throttle

I will post more details about what’s been happening in the court room this last week.

It’s interesting how a consumer could be blamed for a design defect. I don’t agree with that and there needs to be more protection for consumers in my opinion.

This week Steven MacClean from Exponent took the stand as a witness for Toyota. He made some claims regarding the heat durability tests of the nylon 6/6 resin used to make the plastic pulleys Toyota has in their ’96 Camry. But after his testimony, Bob Hilliard cross examined him. Bob asked MacClean if he was aware that Exponent was the company who testified that the amounts of asbestos fibers released from handling brake shoes (used in older drum brakes) and pads (used in newer disc brakes) either were harmless or in insufficient quantities to cause disease. Of course, it was proven later that asbestos caused mesothelioma and tens of thousands have died from exposure to asbestos. Yet Exponent had claimed the material was safe.

Bob then asked MacClean if he was aware that Exponent had done testing of MVBT contaminant found in drinking water that Exponent had claimed was safe. The contaminant was later found to be very dangerous and cancer causing. MacClean said he was not aware of that.

Bob asked MacClean if he was aware that Exponent was the company who conducted the Ford crush tests which later turned out to be inaccurate.

Bob asked MacClean if it would surprise him to learn that Toyota alone had paid a total of $42,906,000 to Exponent for testing services over a period of time. From 2003 to 2009 it was 9 million and then a sudden spike in 2009 and 2011 that equals a total of $31 million. Quite a spike/payment in just two years. I can’t help but wonder if Exponent feels a sense of loyalty to Toyota and wondered if one could even trust what they say.

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