Kim v. Toyota Motor Corp.Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed a products liability suit against Toyota, alleging that plaintiffs' accident occurred because their Toyota Tundra lacked electronic stability control (ESC), also known as vehicle stability control (VSC), and that the absence of this device or system was a design defect. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the trial court’s denial of their motion in limine to exclude evidence that the custom of the automotive industry was not to include ESC as standard equipment in pickup trucks. The court held that evidence of industry custom and practice may be admissible in a strict products liability action, depending on the nature of the evidence and the purpose for which the proponent seeks to introduce the evidence. In this case, the trial court properly denied plaintiffs' motion in limine because plaintiffs moved to exclude all such evidence. The court also concluded that the trial court’s evidentiary rulings and imposition of a time limit on the duration of rebuttal argument were not an abuse of discretion, and that the trial court properly refused plaintiffs' proposed jury instructions on federal safety standards and industry custom. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.