A man from Greensboro has filed a product liability suit against Toyota, Toyota Motor Sales USA, and Flow Imports in the Triad. The suit alleges that William Hemphill suffered serious personal injuries in a December 11, 2009 crash when his Lexus suddenly went into uncontrolled acceleration as he was driving in a parking garage.


According to a description of the incident, the Lexus “bounced off a pillar of the building before colliding with an electrical transformer, resulting in the building and nearby hospital losing power.


The suit alleges negligence on the part of Toyota because the company failed to act on more than 2,000 complaints from Toyota and Lexus owners of sudden uncontrolled acceleration.


The suit also claims possible negligence by Flow Imports for giving Hemphill false assurance that the Lexus was in “perfect condition” when they knew or reasonably should have know of an existing safety hazard. The suit cites a service visit over an acceleration issue in fall 2009 as a reference for this claim.


According to Hemphills’ lawyer, they had to file the suit to get access to Toyota’s records in relation to the crash. He said that there is an “event data recorder,” similar to a black box on an airplane, that records what was going on with the engine, brakes, and other aspects of the vehicle when the airbags deploy. He says that he believes getting access to that data, it will show that Hemphill was applying the brake as the engine was racing out of control.


Hemphill seeks compensatory damages of more than $10,000 for the injuries he suffered. He also seeks compensatory damages for property damage and punitive damages from Toyota and Toyota Motor Sales.

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