Dec. 23, 2010 – Toyota issued the following statement in response to the disclosure of the Saylor settlement today:
“Toyota and the Saylor and Lastrella families reached a private, amicable settlement through mutual respect and cooperation without the involvement of the courts, so we are disappointed that the amount of this settlement has now been made public against the express wishes of these families and Toyota. As is common in these cases, these parties agreed to keep the amount confidential, in part to protect the families from unwanted solicitations and to allow them to move on from this difficult period. Unfortunately, Bob Baker Lexus, along with the Orange County District Attorney and several news organizations, fought to make the amount of the settlement public, and the court agreed to do so.
“Indeed, Bob Baker Lexus already knew the terms of the settlement. However, Mr. Baker now wants the amount publicized in an apparent effort to shift the focus away from his dealership as he continues to litigate this case with the families.
“Mr. Baker and his dealership continue to ignore the December 2009 San Diego County Sheriff’s Department report on the Saylor accident, which determined that the cause was an incompatible all-weather floor mat from a Lexus SUV model that was installed incorrectly in the ES 350 sedan at the dealership then loaned to the Saylor family by Bob Baker Lexus. Specifically, the report concluded that:
- The accelerator pedal became trapped either in the grooves of the all weather floor mat or underneath it, not allowing the accelerator pedal to return to idle when released,
- The size of the mat with relation to the size of the floor board did not allow room for easy manipulation to clear the pedal (the SUV mat is much larger and thicker than the sedan mat), and
- The plastic retaining clips were not attached, which could allow for the mat to move forward and apply further pressure on the accelerator pedal.
“Our deepest sympathies remain with the friends and family of Mark, Cleofe and Mahala Saylor and Cleofe’s brother Chris Lastrella. However, as in the past, Toyota will continue to defend itself vigorously against the misleading allegations Bob Baker Lexus is making against Toyota. Toyota is not, however, in a position to address the additional negligence claims the families have against Bob Baker Lexus that are independent of Toyota.”