A verdict clearing Toyota Motor Corp.
in the death of a California woman whose 2006 Camry apparently accelerated despite her efforts to stop could bode well for the Japanese automaker as it faces similar cases.
Jurors deliberated for about five days before reaching their decision and concluding the vehicle’s design didn’t contribute to the death of 66-year-old Noriko Uno, who was killed in August 2009 when she was struck by another motorist, sending her vehicle into a telephone pole and tree.
The outcome of the so-called “bellwether” case could influence whether Toyota should be held responsible for sudden unintended acceleration as part of a larger group of lawsuits filed in state courts. Another case began in Oklahoma this week and there are more than 80 similar lawsuits filed in U.S. state courts.