Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 8, 2013, 1:44pm

MARSHALL - A Jasper couple has filed a lawsuit claiming their 11-year-old daughter suffered fatal injuries in a vehicle wreck due to a lack of adequate occupant protection in their 2010 Toyota Corolla.

Jonathon Richardson and Brittany Richardson, individually and as legal heirs to the Estate of M.B.R. a deceased minor, and as next friends to a minor, filed suit against Toyota Motor Corp. on July 3 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The accident occurred on April 27 as Brittany Richardson was driving a 2010 Toyota Corolla northbound on US 96 at the intersection of FM 201.

According to the lawsuit, the Richardson vehicle was struck by another vehicle being driven by Samuel Herrington.  Despite being properly seated and wearing their seat belts, an 11-year-old girl was killed and a 6-year-old girl received serious injuries in the crash.

The Texas Department of Public Safety stated that Herrington attempted to turn on FM 201 and turned in front of Richardson’s vehicle, according to the suit. He was driving a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck at the time of the collision.

The plaintiffs argue that the Toyota Corolla was unreasonably dangerous and defective in that the rear seat restraint system failed to have an effective anti-submarining seat feature, lacked pretensioners and proper belt geometry, failed to provide adequate occupant protection, failed to lock up or locked up late, failed to have adjustable guide loops, failed to use built in booster seats, failed to properly protect children in booster seat and failed to properly protect children that are large enough to use no belt positioning booster seat.

Further, the plaintiffs argue that the vehicle violated the principles of crashworthiness and the defendant failed to conduct testing with occupants in the rear seat and failed to conduct proper engineering analysis.

On behalf of the deceased, the lawsuit is seeking an award of damages for disfigurement, conscious physical and emotional pain, torment, mental anguish, emotional distress, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship and society, loss of consortium and on behalf of the minor the lawsuit is seeking an award of damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, impairment, disfigurement, interference with daily activities, reduced capacity to enjoy life and medical expenses. The lawsuit is also seeking an award of actual damages, interest and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by E. Todd Tracy, Stewart D. Matthews and Andrew G. Counts of The Tracy Firm in Dallas.

Case No. 2:13-cv-00539

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