Toyota

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Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon



Friday, June 9, 2017

8th Circuit upholds verdict, $11M award for Koua Fong Lee and victims in Toyota Camry crash




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8th Circuit upholds verdict, $11M award for Koua Fong Lee and victims in Toyota Camry crash





A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld the verdict in favor of Koua Fong Lee, the St. Paul man who sued the Toyota Corp. after he lost control of his Toyota Camry in 2006, resulting in the deaths of three people and his imprisonment.
In a 2015 trial, a jury found Lee 40 percent at fault and Toyota 60 percent at fault for the collision and awarded Lee and other crash victims $11.4 million.
The panel concluded that the evidence and testimony presented at trial gave a plausible explanation for Lee’s contention that his 1996 Camry accelerated while he tried to apply the brakes as he exited eastbound Interstate 94 at the Snelling Avenue exit. The Camry rear-ended a 1995 Oldsmobile Ciera, killing the Ciera’s driver and his son, and injuring the driver’s daughter, who died 16 months later, and two other relatives in the car.
Texas attorney Bob Hilliard, representing Lee in the trial in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, argued that the accelerator stuck as a result of a manufacturing defect by Toyota.
Toyota appealed, saying U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery improperly allowed irrelevant testimony at the trial. Three witnesses who testified that their 1996 Toyota Camrys inexplicably accelerated should not have been permitted to testify because their circumstances were different, the company argued.
The appeals court ruled that the jury listened to conflicting testimony and reached a reasonable conclusion.
“The jury’s verdict was not based on ‘sheer speculation,’ and instead is supported by reasonable inferences drawn from the plaintiffs’ evidence.
On one point, the appeals court said that Montgomery erred in awarding prejudgment interest to the mother of Devyn Bolton, the girl who died later from her injuries. It was not immediately clear from the appeals court decision, how much money that would entail.
Hilliard’s law firm said the $11.4 million verdict was the largest for sudden, unintended acceleration ever issued against Toyota.
Before the civil trial, Lee spent two years in prison after Ramsey County prosecuted him for the accident and a jury convicted him of criminal vehicular homicide. Hilliard won Lee’s release after presenting evidence that Toyota Camrys had a history of sudden, unintended acceleration. County prosecutors decided to not retry the criminal case.
http://m.startribune.com/8th-circuit-upholds-verdict-11m-award-for-koua-fong-lee-and-victims-in-toyota-camry-crash/427483223/?section=%2F

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