Beasley Allen Attorneys Investigating Toyota Unintended Acceleration Cases

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Attorney Graham Esdale says early research appears to refute Toyota claim that problem is linked exclusively to floor mat interference or sticking accelerator pedal; may be systemic

“We’ve done statistical analysis and the mats are different in the Toyotas (we’ve examined) than they are in some of the other Toyota vehicles that have experienced this.” Graham Esdale, Shareholder

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. announced this week that it is slamming the brakes on the manufacturing and sales of many of its bestselling models in the U.S. The decision to suspend production and sales follows a series of safety recalls involving millions of vehicles.

Toyota announced a recall of more than 4 million cars and trucks last September, saying that driver-side floor mats could interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause the vehicle to accelerate suddenly and unintentionally. On January 22, Toyota announced another recall of 2.3 million American cars and trucks, saying that the gas pedal mechanisms could wear out over time and cause the accelerator to stick or grow unresponsive.

Beasley Allen is currently investigating cases of sudden unintended acceleration affecting a large number of Toyota vehicles. Beasley Allen investigators are disputing the argument that this problem is entirely linked to the floor mats or accelerator pedals.

Beasley Allen Shareholder Graham Esdale has become a leading voice in the investigation of these cases. He has been called on by national, regional and local media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, WSMV-TV Nashville and WAKA-TV Montgomery to address this dangerous issue. Graham and his team at Beasley Allen have examined hundreds of incidents of Unintended Acceleration from throughout the country and are currently investigating approximately 30 potential cases.

Esdale has one case involving serious injury and death currently filed on behalf of an Oklahoma client (civil action number CJ-2008-7969, District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma) . In this case, the client's car began speeding out of control even after she had removed her foot from the accelerator pedal. The client was critically injured when her car left the interstate as a result and crashed, and her friend, who was a passenger, was killed. Esdale said photos of the vehicle reveal the floor mat is properly secured and there is no evidence that the mat jammed the gas pedal.

Recent evidence turned up by ABC News also supports Esdale's claims. The news agency reported that just after Christmas, four people died when the Toyota they were in sped out of control and landed upside down in a pond. Investigators found the floor mats had been removed and stashed in the trunk as the vehicle's owners had been instructed.

Another recent incident involved a New Jersey man whose Avalon accelerated violently. Kevin Haggerty told ABC News that he managed to navigate his racing car to his dealership by shifting repeatedly between drive and neutral. When he arrived, the service manger was able to verify that the floor mat and gas pedal were not to blame.

"It's not a sticking accelerator pedal. Just like it wasn't the floor mats," Esdale alleges.

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Scott Thomas

Helen M. Taylor
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