Car manufacturers Toyota are set to face a product liability lawsuit over the keyless ignition system on some of their Lexus models, after a prominent US lawyer died of carbon monoxide poisoning in one of the company’s cars.
The lawsuit has been filed by lawyer Noah Kushlefsky in the New York City borough of Queens, alleging that the Toyota Lexus’ keyless ignition system played a part in the death of 79-year-old lawyer Ernest Codelia Jr in February 2009.
According to reports, Codelia Jr. and his long-term partner Mary Riviera had parked their luxury Lexus sedan in a ground-floor garage adjoined to their home in Whitestone. The engine was accidentally left running. Codelia Jr. was found dead the next day with carbon monoxide in his system, and Riveria has been left brain-damaged.
The lawsuit reportedly names Toyota as being at least partly responsible for Codelia Jr.’s death, claiming that the company failed to fit their keyless ignition cars with a ‘shutdown’ switch in case the quiet engine is accidentally left running.
If the product is found to be faulty and liable for the injury caused to the New York couple, Toyota will need to rely on its professional insurance cover for product liability.