Ba Boom! Expert in Koua Fong Lee v Toyota trial -- Lee "stepped on brakes"
- Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
- Updated: January 29, 2015 - 9:01 PM
Members want to view tests done on Camry’s throttle control box.
Jurors deliberating the liability case involving Toyota Motor Corp. indicated Thursday that they wanted to look at video that was played during the trial in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
They finished their first full day of deliberations Thursday and will resume at 9 a.m. Friday.
Toyota is accused in a lawsuit of installing a defective accelerator system in its 1996 Camry, causing a crash in 2006 in St. Paul that resulted in the deaths of three people and a prison term for the Camry’s driver, Kuoa Fong Lee. Lee, his family and relatives of the victims have sued for damages.
Jurors asked for viewing equipment so they could watch two versions of a video of a test by John Stilson, an Illinois-based automotive consultant hired by Lee’s attorneys. The videos showed Stilson using a hair dryer to heat up the throttle control box that controls acceleration of the Camry.
The jurors were given an edited video shown at the trial and a longer, unedited version.
Stilson contends that when heated, two nylon pulleys in the accelerator system got stuck. Toyota attorneys argued that Stilson did not conduct the tests properly.
The crash occurred June 10, 2006, when the Camry struck an Oldsmobile Ciera at the end of the Snelling Avenue exit off eastbound Interstate 94. Killed were the Ciera’s driver, Javis Trice-Adams, 33, and his son, Javis Adams Jr., 9. His daughter Devyn Bolton, 6, was paralyzed and later died.
If jurors find the Camry was not defective, Toyota wins. If they find it was defective they must decide if the car’s design “was a direct cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries.” If they find it was, they must decide if Lee was negligent.
Depending on those answers, the jury may have to assess what percentage of blame, totaling 100 percent, must be attributed to Toyota Motor Corp. and to Lee.
They must also decide any damages for Trice-Adams’ daughter Jassmine, who was injured in the crash. If Toyota is deemed at fault, the jury can award damages to Lee, to the other passengers in the Camry and to Devyn Bolton’s mother and grandmother, Bridgette Rice and Carolyn Trice.
They must also consider damages for Quincy Adams, Bolton’s grandfather.