U.S. court upholds $11 million verdict on deadly crash against Toyota


A federal appeals court on Friday supported a $11 million verdict against Toyota Motor concerning a deadly 2006 auto accident in Minnesota, which a jury discovered was caused by an accelerator defect in a 1996 Camry.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals discovered that the Minnesota jury had sufficient evidence to conclude in 2015 that Toyota was 60 percent accountable for the crash and that the motorist of the Camry, Koua Fong Lee, was 40 percent accountable.

Lee was criminally charged in association with the crash and served almost 3 years in prison for vehicular homicide, according to his lawyer, Robert Hilliard. In 2010, when reports of unintentional acceleration in other Toyota cars surfaced, Lee won a motion to reserve his conviction, and he was released from jail.

The vehicle in the accident was not covered by Toyota’s recall of over 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2010 over velocity concerns.

“I’m grateful to the 8th Circuit however I’m also relieved for Mr. Lee’s household,” Hilliard stated.

“We sympathize with everyone impacted by this regrettable accident from 2006,” Toyota stated. “While we appreciate the 8th Circuit’s decision, we continue to believe the evidence reveals that Mr. Lee’s 1996 Camry was properly designed and was not the reasons of this accident.”

A lawyer representing other individuals injured in the crash could not be reached for remark.

The Minnesota trial came from a lawsuit filed on behalf of guests hurt or killed in the 2006 crash in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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