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August 17, 2011 Press Releases

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 18, 2011) — Lawyers for the sole survivor of a deadly crash involving an out-of-control Lexus filed suit today seeking compensatory damages for product liability and negligence from Bob Baker Lexus in El Cajon, Calif., Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. The suit also includes a claim for punitive damages against the Toyota entities.

Attorney Gayle M. Blatt filed the lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of her client, Santee, Calif. resident Philip Pretty. According to Blatt, a partner with San Diego-based Casey Gerry, Pretty was struck by a 2009 ES 350 Lexus driven by off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, whose fiery August 2009 crash was attributed to sudden unintended acceleration and an improperly installed floor mat.

Pretty, 54, was heading home from work when the runaway Lexus sedan driven by Saylor struck and totaled his Ford Explorer SUV.  According to Blatt, Pretty was rendered unconscious and hospitalized, suffering a head injury as well as damage to his shoulder and knee.

The Lexus – on loan from Bob Baker Lexus — reportedly had received a previous complaint regarding a stuck accelerator. Saylor, his wife, 13-year old daughter and brother-in-law all died, and Toyota subsequently recalled more than four million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S. and Canada due to acceleration problems.

“Toyota had numerous complaints of sudden unintended acceleration and improper speed control – in similarly designed vehicles — spanning years prior to this incident,” Blatt said. “That car should not have been on the road, and my client, who is still struggling with the emotional aftermath of this horrific crash, wants to make sure this will not happen again.”

Witnesses had reported seeing a Lexus heading northbound on State Route 125 at a high rate of speed. CHP officials said the driver tried to make a left turn where the freeway ended at Mission Gorge Road, but lost control and struck Pretty’s Explorer – ultimately hitting an embankment and bursting into flames.

Toyota Motor Corp. and the Saylor family settled a product liability lawsuit last year, but that deal does not free the Lexus dealer from a separate accusation that it installed the wrong floor mat in the sedan.  Toyota still faces dozens of state and federal personal injury suits, as well as claims for economic damages that are pending in Orange County and Los Angeles Courts.

About Casey Gerry
Celebrating more than 60 years in San Diego, Casey Gerry was established in 1947, and is the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego. The firm’s 12 attorneys practice in numerous areas, including asbestos, personal injury, product liability and pharmaceutical litigation. Located in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, the firm also has a satellite office in Carlsbad, Calif. For more information, call (619) 238-1811 or visit