A federal appeals court has refused to revive a product liability suit alleging that the belated deployment of the driver's airbag in a 1995 Toyota Tacoma caused serious injury to the driver.
There was no proof that the pickup's airbag system was defective, the 4th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said.
In 1998, Douglas Wilder's truck was forced off the road, crashing into some stumps. His suit against Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. alleged that Wilder, who was wearing his safety belt and shoulder harness, wasn't hurt in the crash but was severely hurt a few minutes later when he opened the door and the airbag unexpectedly inflated.
U.S. District Judge James Jones in Abington, Va., dismissed the case without trial.
In upholding that decision, the three-judge appeals panel said in part there was no expert testimony to prove a defect existed, what the purported defect was or how it had occurred.
Toyota spokeswoman Holly Ferris called it a fair decision and said: "Our evidence showed there was no defect at all in the airbag system of that vehicle. And they didn't have any evidence otherwise."
Wilder's lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
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