2010年12月27日月曜日

レクサス急加速事故 和解金1000万ドル

 「レクサス」の急加速により昨年8月に米加州で起きた事故をめぐり、
死亡した警官と家族ら4人の遺族がトヨタを相手に損害賠償を求めていた
訴訟で、トヨタが和解金1000万ドルの支払いに同意していたことが明らか
になった。
 双方は和解していたが、金額は明らかにされていなかった。サンディ
エゴの上級裁判所が、金額を非公開とするよう求めた双方の要求を退け、
訴訟に関わった弁護士が、金額を明らかにした。

・米加州のレクサス急加速事故は、アクセルにフロアマットが詰まった
 ことが原因として和解。TOYOTAは、責任を未認定、または否定らしい。
・TOYOTAとSaylor家族、Lastrella家族は裁判所非介入で和解し、支払い
 に対して訴訟取下げに同意。
・レクサスディーラと上級裁判所は和解金額の公表を反対。
・上級裁判所判事は、和解条件を隠蔽することで、事故関連の透明性が
 なくなると批判している。

レクサス急加速事故に対して、TOYOTA、Baker Lexus(レクサスディーラ)、
被害者家族、裁判所が、裁判に関連しているようで、TOYOTAと被害者家族は
和解となりそうだったが、国際的な安全性の問題として、知る権利を主張
し、Baker Lexusと判事が和解金額を公開させた。

Baker Lexusは、他の車のフロアマットを敷き、安全確認怠慢により、
レクサスの事故を招いたとして、水面下の訴訟に対応しているようだ。

ディーラオプションで、事故が発生となれば、責任の重さがかなり異なる。
ディーラからみれば、TOYOTAは、被害者家族を金で口封じし、和解に持込み、
和解条件を隠蔽し、評判を落とさないようにしていると見ているのかもしれ
ない。
結局、コンピュータによるエンジンやブレーキ装置のノイズによる誤動作は
再現できず、事故の多くは運転ミスで、一部はフロアマットによる原因との
報告があった。
ディーラはいかに負けを少なくするかしかないだろう。

レクサス急加速事故は、政治屋に利用されたと報道されたが、今はそれ程
騒動にはならない。やはり、利用されたと言うことになる。

TOYOTAは、このディーラと取引停止したたのだろうか。

慢心トヨタ フロアマットが死を招く
トヨタ 無心で恫喝か
トヨタ事故 運転ミスが主因か
事件一段落


---トヨタの米加州事故訴訟、和解金は1000万ドル=弁護士---
2010年 12月 24日 06:42 JST
http://jp.reuters.com/article/topNews/idJPJAPAN-18763320101223

 [ロサンゼルス 23日 ロイター] トヨタ自動車(7203.T: 株価, ニュース, レポート)の高級車「レクサス」の急加速により昨年8月に米カリフォルニア州で起きた事故をめぐり、死亡した警官と家族ら4人の遺族がトヨタを相手に損害賠償を求めていた訴訟で、トヨタが和解金1000万ドルの支払いに同意していたことが明らかになった。
 双方は9月に和解していたが、金額は明らかにされていなかった。サンディエゴの上級裁判所が20日、金額を非公開とするよう求めた双方の要求を退け、訴訟に関わった弁護士が23日、金額を明らかにした。


---トヨタ:和解金額が公になったことは遺憾-米加州のレクサス事故で---
更新日時: 2010/12/24 07:26 JST
http://www.bloomberg.co.jp/apps/news?pid=90920008&sid=arsr8W08C0F0

 12月23日(ブルームバーグ):トヨタ自動車の「レクサス」の速度が制御不能となり、乗っていた米カリフォルニア州ハイウエー警察隊員が家族3人と共に死亡した事故をめぐり、トヨタは遺族と法廷外で合意した和解金額が公になったことは遺憾だと表明した。
 米紙ロサンゼルス・タイムズは23日、ハイウエー警察隊員のマーク・セイラーさんにレクサス「ES350」セダンを貸していたディーラーの弁護士の発言を引用し、トヨタは1000万ドル(約8億3000万円)を支払うことに同意したと報じた。ボブ・ベーカー・レクサスの代理人、ラリー・ウィリス弁護士に電話と電子メールで取材を試みたが返答はなかった。
 当事者に和解条件について発言するのを禁じる口外禁止命令は22日に失効した。和解条件はロサンゼルスの州裁判所判事の承認が必要。
 トヨタは電子メールを通じて23日に配布した発表資料で、「望まない寄付の要請などから家族を守り、現在の困難な時期から前に進めるよう、これら当事者は金額を非公表とすることで合意していた」と述べ、「ベーカー氏はセイラーさんの家族と依然係争中であり、注目を自分のディーラーからそらすため和解金額の公表を望んでいることは明らかだ」と指摘した。
 セイラーさん(45、当時)は妻、13歳の娘、義理の兄弟と共に2009年8月28日に事故死した。乗っていたレクサスは、セイラーさんが自分の車を点検に出していた間に借りていたものだった。


---Toyota sudden-acceleration settlement with family was worth $10 million---
By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
December 23, 2010, 10:24 a.m.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-settlement-20101224,0,5017649.story

Four people in a Lexus died in an August 2009 crash in San Diego. Toyota's settlement, in which it did not admit or deny liability, was disclosed in September, but the amount was not revealed until a judge rejected efforts to keep it secret.

Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay $10 million to settle a lawsuit over a fiery San Diego crash last year that claimed four lives and drew national attention to the issue of sudden acceleration in its vehicles.

The automaker's settlement with relatives of California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and three of his family members was disclosed in September but the amount it paid was not released then.

Toyota and the families had moved to keep the amount secret, but that request was denied by a Superior Court judge Monday. The amount was confirmed Thursday by Larry Willis, an attorney for a Lexus dealership that also is a defendant in the case.

The effort to keep the terms secret was opposed by the Lexus dealer that loaned the ill-fated car to Saylor, as well as by The Times, other media and the Orange County district attorney.

"Toyota and the Saylor and Lastrella families reached a private, amicable settlement through mutual respect and cooperation without the involvement of the courts," the automaker said, "so we are disappointed that the amount of this settlement has now been made public against the express wishes of these families and Toyota."

Attorneys for the families could not be reached immediately for comment.

In exchange for the payment, the families - Saylor's parents and those of his wife, Cleofe Lastrella, and his brother-in-law, Chris Lastrella - agreed to drop their lawsuit against the automaker. They had alleged that defects in the 2009 Lexus ES caused it to accelerate out of control before crashing in August 2009, killing all four occupants, including Saylor's daughter, Mahala, 13.

The moments leading up to the crash were captured in a chilling 911 recording that led to the first of a series of safety and quality recalls by Toyota in the past 14 months.

Since then, the automaker has faced a series of federal investigations, recalled millions of vehicles worldwide and been hit with scores of lawsuits in state and federal courts.

The Saylor-Lastrella suit was widely considered the strongest against Toyota, so settling it eliminates the risk of a huge jury verdict. Though a large amount, the terms are well below other personal-injury settlements recorded in California that have reached more than $30 million.

Toyota and the families had asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr to seal the settlement on grounds that it could draw unwanted attention to the victims' families, potentially color the opinion of juries in related cases and risk irreparable damage to the automaker's reputation.

But on Monday, the judge denied that motion, saying that a compelling reason to keep the agreement secret had not been made. He granted the parties 48 hours to seek an appeal. That window closed late Wednesday.

Mohr also gave them until Dec. 30 to withdraw the settlement entirely.

"This case contains allegations against one of the world's largest automakers, and there are a lot of people that drive its cars," Mohr said. "What about their right to know?"

Toyota disagreed with his decision, noting that it was "against the express wishes of Toyota and these families."

Bob Baker Lexus of El Cajon, which remained a defendant in the case, contended that the size of the settlement had a material effect on its defense.

The Times, other media and Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas joined Baker Lexus in arguing that the settlement should be disclosed, especially since the case was public and the deal was brought before a public court for approval.

"The court's review of the settlement of a public-safety case that has drawn international attention should not be shrouded in secrecy," argued attorney J.P. Jassy, representing the Times, Bloomberg News, Associated Press and the San Diego Union Tribune. "Public confidence demands openness."

Willis, the lawyer for Bob Baker Lexus, said he had reviewed the settlement as part of the litigation but had been under court order not to discuss the details until now.

He said he waited until Thursday to speak so he could be sure that Toyota had not filed an appeal and had not won a higher court order sealing the information again. He declined to say whether he thought the settlement was fair.

It's unclear whether the settlement would offset a possible verdict against the dealership.

The still-pending lawsuit against the dealership alleged that it was negligent for installing a floor mat from a different vehicle in the Lexus ES, which could have caused the accelerator pedal to become stuck. .

Toyota did not admit or deny liability in settling the case.

Separately, Toyota agreed this week to pay $32.4 million in fines to the U.S. Transportation Department for delaying notifications and recalls related to sudden acceleration and a separate steering issue. Earlier this year, Toyota paid a $16.4 million fine for delaying a recall involving sticking accelerator pedals.

Details of how Toyota's settlement in the Saylor-Lastrella case was to be divided among family members, and how much attorneys would receive, were not contained in the court filing.


---Toyota to pay $10 million in accelerator crash lawsuit---
Dec 23, 2010
02:17 PM
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/12/toyota-to-pay-10-million-in-accelerator-crash-lawsuit/1

Toyota is going to shell out $10 million to settle a lawsuit brought in the fatal crash that set off a safety scandal for the automaker, it is being reported.

An attorney says Toyota will pay to settle with the family of an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, who was killed along with three others, in August, 2009. Toyota agreed to the settlement, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was killed after floor mats apparently jammed against the accelerator in a Lexus ES that he had borrowed from a San Diego-area dealership while his own car was being serviced. The car sped up and apparently couldn' t be halted as a panicked passenger in the car related in a 911 call.

The attorney, Larry Willis, who released the amount of the settlement represents the car dealer, Bob Baker Lexus, which is yet to settle with the family.

The Associated Press says a Los Angeles judge denied a motion by Toyota and the plaintiffs to keep the settlement sealed. Toyota had 48 hours to file a stay with a California appeals court.

Toyota issued a statement saying it is disappointed that the amount of its settlement had been made public:

Unfortunately, Bob Baker Lexus, along with the Orange County District Attorney and several news organizations, fought to make the amount of the settlement public, and the court agreed to do so.

Indeed, Bob Baker Lexus already knew the terms of the settlement. However, Mr. Baker now wants the amount publicized in an apparent effort to shift the focus away from his dealership as he continues to litigate this case with the families.

In the statement, Toyota blamed the dealer for not having acted on a warning to remove floor mats in the vehicles after it became known they could jam against accelerators.


---トヨタ、3200万ドル制裁金に同意 米リコール問題---
2010年12月21日13時25分
http://www.asahi.com/business/update/1221/TKY201012210241.html

 【ワシントン=尾形聡彦】米運輸省は20日、トヨタ自動車が米国で大規模なリコール(回収・無償修理)を実施した問題で、トヨタが3242万5千ドル(約27億円)の追加制裁金の支払いに同意したと発表した。トヨタは2009年秋と10年初めに大規模リコールを実施したが、米運輸省はリコールの遅れなどを問題視し、調査していた。
 ラフッド運輸長官は同日の声明で、「安全性は我々の最大の優先事項であり、我々は消費者を保護するという我々の責務を真剣に受け止めている。トヨタが、最大限の制裁金の支払いに同意したことを喜んでいる」と表明した。
 トヨタの米幹部は「決着に至ったことは喜ばしいと思っている」との声明を出した。

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