February 2, 2010
Toyota's Lawsuit Problem
In the aftermath of sudden acceleration problems and a recall, Toyota is facing a stream of lawsuits. A recent Reuters piece quotes two lawprofs (and future TortsProf guest bloggers), David Owen (South Carolina) and James Henderson (Cornell), on the issue.
Owen focused on the duty to warn issue:
"The grounds to sue are that there was a design defect, regardless of what Toyota may do to mop up the consequences, and the possibility that a post-sale warning was delayed too long," he said.
"If it turned out that Toyota delayed the recall beyond the point when a reasonable manufacturer would have done so, then punitive damages in substantial amounts might be available to whoever was physically injured," Owen added.
Henderson (I'm assuming this is James Henderson at Cornell, not "Frank") addressed the basic lack of recovery for fear of injury alone:
"In a significant majority of states, there is no remedy for mental upset and fright, absent a consequential injury to people or property caused by the defect," said Frank Henderson, a Cornell Law School professor and product liability expert.
The entire article is here.
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