Jackson Co. man sues Toyota for wife's death

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 22, 2010

CHARLESTON -- A Jackson County man is suing Toyota Motor Corporation after he claims the company is responsible for his wife's death.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, California, Inc.; Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.; Toyota Motor North America, Inc.; Autoliv Safety Technology, Inc.; Autoliv ASP, Inc.; Autoliv, Inc.; Autoliv AB; NSK, Ltd.; NSK Safety System Co., Ltd.; NSK Autoliv Co., Ltd.; NSK Americas, Inc.; NSK Corporation; NSK-Warner USA, Inc.; NSK-Warner K.K.; Borg Warner, Inc.; Bert Wolfe, Inc.; and Bert Wolfe Toyota, Inc., were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Dec. 4, 2008, Autumn M. Meadows was traveling in Interstate 77 when her 2002 Toyota Tacoma lost control, slid off the road and rolled over, according to a complaint filed Dec. 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Joseph N. Meadows Jr. claims his wife's vehicle lacked vehicle stability control, which Toyota had installed in other 2002 models

Mr. Meadows claims if the vehicle had vehicle stability control, it would have prevented the loss of control that caused the vehicle to leave the road and roll over, causing his wife's death.

The vehicle was defective in its design, manufacture and use, according to the suit.

Mr. Meadows claims the vehicle's roof and supporting structures were inadequate to protect occupants; the occupant compartment was inadequate to protect occupants; and that the vehicle lacked reasonable collapse resistance, despite the fact that Toyota was aware of the importance of preventing this sort of collapse and maintaining adequate survival space for occupants in rollover accidents.

Mr. Meadows is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Patrick E. McFarland, Paul J. Komyatte and James L. Gilbert.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-2187

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