Texas constable crashes into gate, sues Toyota for defective pickup

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 13, 2010, 7:00am

Frank L. Branson

MARSHALL -- A Texas constable driving on a highway near Canton claims he swerved to avoid a dog that was standing in the roadway. His attempt failed and his 2002 Toyota Tundra pickup truck hit the dog and he lost control of the vehicle.

The pickup left the highway and struck a pipe gate and pole. Although the constable states he was wearing his seat belt, he was seriously injured during the wreck.

Alleging the truck was unreasonably dangerous, Clarence Hogan and his wife, Carolyn, filed suit against Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. on Jan. 7 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The lawsuit accuses Toyota of negligence for designing, manufacturing, distributing and promoting an unreasonably dangerous vehicle that lacked adequate crash-worthiness protection.

Hogan alleges the defendants knew the truck had handling and stability problems.

He claims the truck's passenger restraints failed to protect him during the side impact collision. According to the complaint, Hogan alleges the Tundra did not have the proper safety equipment, including side-impact air curtains, air bags or electronic stability control to protect him during a foreseeable side impact collision.

The plaintiffs accuse the defendants of gross negligence because they had a subjective awareness of the risk involved but proceeded with a "conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of others, including, but not limited to, Clarence Hogan," the suit states.

Clarence Hogan is seeking damages for physical pain, suffering, and mental anguish, medical, therapy and rehabilitative expenses, loss of earning capacity, physical disfigurement and physical impairment.

Carolyn Hogan is seeking damages for loss of consortium and loss of household services.

The plaintiffs are also seeking punitive damages in an amount "sufficient to punish the defendants and to deter others similar situated from engaging in such unconscionable conduct."

Dallas attorneys Frank L. Branson and J. Gregory Marks of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson PC are representing the plaintiffs.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:10cv00004

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