Thursday, January 8, 2015

Koua Fong Lee attorney Bob Hilliard says Toyota accelerator pulleys overheated

A simple pulley. Made of metal.

In recounting the crash, Bob Hilliard, Lee’s attorney, said that Lee “repeatedly pumps the brakes” along the Interstate 94 exit ramp, but they failed to respond. He said that tests of the brake light on Lee’s Camry showed that the brakes were applied.Hilliard said expert testimony will show that two plastic resin pulleys under the hood that operate the accelerator overheated and became stuck. They were situated only 10 inches from a part of the engine that reaches a temperature of 1,000 degrees.
He said that a Japanese engineer who designed the mechanism for Toyota testified in a deposition that the pulley mechanism was only tested to 248 degrees before it was put on the market and pulleys made of plastic resin were not involved in the test.

Questions:  (assuming overheated plastic resin pulleys are proven and accepted to be the cause of this tragedy)
1.  If the original design was done by an engineer (either from within Toyota, or from the outside – and especially if a professional engineer who might have signed off on the design) who had originally specified/required pulleys made of a different material (presumably metal, or something more suitable), which were then:
2.  Found to have been ordered replaced with pulleys made of (possibly unsuitable/unproven/poorly substituted) plastic resin, should the Independent Monitor be made aware of this at the end of the trial – given the likely inability to have admitted this to date?
Presumably, any substitution in material might have potentially been made by an unqualified person (accountant, business school graduate, etc.,) who was attempting to cut costs and improve profits.
Probably not illegal in and of itself, but would this still be true if not acknowledged when injuries and deaths have been the result?