CABELL COUNTY – An Elkview man has filed suit against Toyota, alleging the company manufactured a defective vehicle that killed the man's father when it unexpectedly accelerated, running the dad off the road.

Jeffrey G. Messinger claims Harold H. Messinger was driving a 2001 Toyota Avalon north on West Virginia Route 2 on June 23 when the vehicle suddenly sped up, making it difficult, if not impossible, for Harold Messinger to control.

"The car left the roadway edge on the right side near the intersection of 3 Mile Road," the suit filed Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court states. "The car traveled approximately two hundred and fifty feet through a grassy area then vaulted over an embankment. The Toyota Avalon became airborne, struck a tree limb, and began to roll. As it rolled, the car struck a telephone pole and came to rest on the east roadway edge of West Virginia State Route 2."

Before his death, Harold H. Messinger suffered extreme fear and mental anguish, severe bodily injuries and extreme conscious pain and suffering, according to the complaint. Harold H. Messinger died the same day of the collision and left surviving his children, Dorinda Loucas and Jeffrey Messinger, the complaint says.

Jeffrey Messinger alleges negligence against Toyota, saying the company failed to design a vehicle free from defects, failed to test the vehicle's acceleration system before putting it into use, failed to comply with all governmental rules and regulations, failed to warn those who would be operating the vehicle of its defective condition and failed to make proper corporate decisions.

In addition, Jeffrey Messinger alleges product liability and strict liability, breach of warranty and fraud against the defendants.
In his complaint, Jeffrey Messinger is seeking compensatory damages of more than $75,000 and punitive damages of more than $75,000, plus other relief to which he may be entitled.

Dwight J. Staples and Gail Henderson-Staples of Henderson, Henderson and Staples in Huntington will be representing him.

Stanley M. Chesley, Robert A. Steinberg and Terrence L. Goodman of Waite, Schneider, Bayless and Chelsey Co. in Cincinnati will serve of counsel.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:10-976

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