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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Toyota recalls autos for acceleration issues

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, today announced it would recall approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models. This action is separate from the on-going recall of approximately 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to reduce the risk of pedal entrapment by incorrect or out of place accessory floor mats. Approximately 1.7 million Toyota Division vehicles are subject to both separate recall actions.

“In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,” said TMS Group Vice President Irv Miller. “Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position. Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action.”

Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall is confined to the following Toyota Division vehicles:

• 2009-2010 RAV4,

• 2009-2010 Corolla,

• 2009-2010 Matrix,

• 2005-2010 Avalon,

• 2007-2010 Camry,

• 2010 Highlander,

• 2007-2010 Tundra,

• 2008-2010 Sequoia

No Lexus Division or Scion vehicles are affected by this recall action. Also not affected are Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids.

The condition is rare, but can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position. Toyota is working quickly to prepare the correction remedy.

In the event that a driver experiences an accelerator pedal that sticks in a partial open throttle position or returns slowly to idle position, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. The brakes should not be pumped repeatedly because it could deplete vacuum assist, requiring stronger brake pedal pressure. The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

Toyota will continue to investigate incidents of unwanted acceleration and take appropriate measures to address any trends that are identified.

Toyota owners who have questions or concerns should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

Should plaintiffs have to pay for a jury trial?

The right to trial by jury is one of the most sacrosanct of liberties afforded under the constitution. And a jury trial is one of the purest forms of democracy. It is the time where citizens determine the outcome of a dispute and where citizens make the decision on right and wrong.

An article in Parade magazine tests the limits of that right. It speaks to an effort to have plaintiffs fund payments to jurors for their service. The author recognizes that serving on a jury is a civic duty, but notes that it can also impose financial hardship. To blunt the hardship, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) wants more states to follow Arizona’s lead, where jurors are paid up to $300 per day for trials lasting longer than five days. And it is proposed that the money come from a “nominal fee” charged to plaintiffs when they file cases.

The proposal seems to fly in the face of any notion of fair play and substantial justice. There is no doubt that jury service can be costly, but it is part of the price we may to live in a democracy. And it is one of the burdens of self-governing.

It is also puzzling that the proposal seeks to level a fee only on plaintiffs. Why not have a fee imposed on defendants when they file an answer to the lawsuit?

It is right to continuously examine how we can make the delivery of justice better. This proposal, however, falls short in that effort, and could take away precious rights.

For further reading on this topic, I suggest you look at the post on imagining life without lawyers.