Avalon owner sues Toyota after car runs into church

Michelle Massey Mar. 9, 2011, 2:11am

A Toyota owner is suing the car manufacturer after her vehicle's accelerator became stuck in a depressed position and she accelerated into the side of St. Mark's Church in Schriever.

Lavergne Short, Elizabeth Hartman and Bernadine Carter filed suit against Toyota Motor North America Inc., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. on Jan. 24, 2011 in Terrebonne Parish District Court. The defendants removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on March 1.

According to the lawsuit, Lavergne Short's 2006 Toyota Avalon experienced an episode of uncontrolled acceleration causing the vehicle to run into the side of a church on Jan. 24, 2010.

The defendants are accused of violating the Louisiana Products Liability Law and breaching implied warranties of merchantability.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for loss of use of her vehicle, property damages, loss of wages, physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, mental pain, suffering and anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, attorney's fees and punitive damages.

The vehicle owner and her passengers are represented by Jerri G. Smitko, Matthew D. Ory and Catherine R. Gauthier of Smitko & Ory in Houma.

U.S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00484

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