Once again, Toyota has been subpoeaned by a federal grand jury in New York seeking information on steering-related defects in its vehicles, and possibly broadening a probe into the Japanese automater’s handling of a recall back in 2005. Law Professor Keith Hylton, an expert in liability law, says the case may come down to how much Toyota knew about these problems and when they discovered them.
“If Toyota knew ‘enough’ and ‘soon enough,’ then a court might find the firm liable for punitive damages in a tort action, on the theory that the firm’s conduct was reckless or intentional. However, if the firm became aware of a possible problem (sticky floor pads, faulty steering rods) without having any information on its frequency or severity, it may have taken the firm some time to discover the extent of the problem.”
Contact Keith Hylton, 617-353-8959, firstname.lastname@example.org