Toyota Motor Sales recently filed a special exception in litigation brought by Sarah Patton, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the late Pamela Freeman after her Highlander hydroplaned on a wet road and crashed.

Patton originally filed her suit against the Texas Department of Transportation on Dec. 15, 2011, in Jefferson County District Court.

She amended her petition on Feb. 13, 2012, and added Toyota as a defendant, alleging a design flaw caused the crash.

Court records show Toyota filed its special exception on Nov. 2, asserting Patton’s amended petition fails to allege a specific defect theory or identify an allegedly defective component of the subject vehicle.

Toyota is requesting the plaintiff be ordered to amend the pleading to identify specific defect theories.

According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 12, 2010, Freeman was exiting I-10 when her vehicle hydroplaned, left the roadway and struck a sign and light pole, “causing her serious injury and months later, her death.”

The suit accuses TxDot of negligently allowing water to accumulate on the roadway because of inadequate drainage.

Toyota is blamed for manufacturing a defective vehicle and placing the 2002 Highlander into the stream of commerce.

Patton is suing for wrongful death damages and court costs.

She is represented by Beaumont attorney Brett Thomas of Roebuck Thomas Roebuck & Adams.

Attorney Kurt Kern of the Dallas law firm Bowman and Brooke represents Toyota.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. B191-484

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