Case details

Dealerships sold vehicle after causing brake problem: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

ankle, back, cervical, fracture, fusion, leg, neck, vertebra
On Oct. 23, 2011, plaintiff Gladys Regueiro, 71, was driving on a highway at close to 50 mph when her 2007 Toyota Scion, which she purchased from Valley Hi Toyota, in Victorville, rolled over after she lost control. No other vehicle was involved in the accident. Regueiro purchased the vehicle used more than seven months before the accident and had put 10,000 miles on the vehicle herself. She claimed a brake-related defect caused the collision, which resulted in her fractures of her vertebrae and an ankle. Regueiro sued the operator of Valley Hi Toyota, VAHI Inc.; the operator of Valley Hi Honda, Dav Inc.; and the operator of Valley Hi Nissan, Victorville Nissan Inc. She also sued the manufacturers of the Scion, Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor North America Inc., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. Regueiro alleged that the Toyota, Honda and Nissan dealerships, which were all owned by the same entity, sold her a defective vehicle and that the Toyota entities had defectively manufactured the Scion. Counsel for the Toyota entities moved for summary judgment, arguing that the vehicle may have been altered post-manufacture. Regueiro did not oppose the motion, which was granted by the court. Thus, the matter went to trial against the dealership defendants. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that there was a problem with the brake caliper slide pin retaining bolt on the Scion’s front, left brake caliper, causing the vehicle to go out of control. Specifically, counsel argued that an employee at one of the dealerships had negligently reinstalled the caliper slide pin retaining bolts and failed to properly tighten them. Defense counsel for the dealerships denied that there was a brake-related defect and denied any of the dealerships had ever worked on the brakes, especially since none of the work orders reflected any brake job being performed. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert testified that he had performed multiple days of testing on a Scion, and demonstrated that even if the Scion had a loose or missing caliper bolt, as claimed by plaintiff’s counsel, the vehicle would not go out of control. Thus, defense counsel argued that the Scion went out of control due to Regueiro’s inattention and/or fatigue and that Regueiro was entirely to blame for the crash., Regueiro suffered non-displaced fractures of her cervical vertebra and right tibia. She subsequently presented to a hospital, where she stayed briefly. Regueiro ultimately underwent a cervical fusion and a closed reduction on her tibia fracture before undergoing physical therapy. Regueiro claimed that she continues to experience back pain and that as a result, she will need part-time attendant care. Thus, Regueiro sought recovery of future medical costs, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel presented evidence at trial showing that Regueiro had previously broken her hip, ribs, leg, and wrist due to unrelated car accidents and falls. Counsel also contended that Regueiro had a handicap placard for many years prior to the incident. In addition, defense counsel informed the jury that even after the subject incident, Regueiro had fallen on three separate occasions, causing her to fracture a shoulder, a wrist, and a knee. Thus, counsel argued that Regueiro’s vertebra and tibia fractures were not caused by the subject crash.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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