CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. wasn't responsible for causing a doctor's 2005 Scion to suddenly accelerate and smash into a tree, a federal jury ruled today.
The accident was caused by the driver, Amir Sitafalwalla, rather than the brake or the floor mat, said a lawyer for Toyota, John Randolph Bibb, in his closing statement today. Sitafalwalla "made a mistake in the operation of his 2005 Scion TC," Bibb told jurors. "He made a simple but unfortunate mistake."
The jury deliberated for less than an hour.
"It was all about how the mat came into play and obviously it didn't," juror Penny Overbeck, 38, of Center Moriches, N.Y., said after the verdict. She said her vote was also influenced by "all the testing Toyota did. They had it all on video. It pretty much explained it."
Sitafalwalla, a Long Island, N.Y., doctor who filed his lawsuit in 2008, had the first case related to the issue to go to trial since Toyota's recall crisis. Sitafalwalla had argued the accident was caused by defects in either the electronic throttle system or the floor mats. On Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle, presiding over the trial, ruled out evidence on the electronics.