Toyota: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 21st, 2010

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Transportation found that sudden acceleration in Toyotas, which led to a massive recall, was actually the result of driver error. While acknowledging that floor mats were defective, the DoT found that most sudden acceleration incidents involved drivers mistakenly jamming on the accelerator rather than the brake.

Lest Toyota breathe a sigh of relief, the Washington Post reports that a federal grand jury issued subpoenas to the automaker for information about potentially defective steering relay rods. The steering relay rods relate to 4Runner SUVs, T100 pickups, and other pickups, and can allegedly wear out, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

Punctuation Pays (or Costs)

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 20th, 2010

Joseph Checkler over at the Wall Street Journal reported on the potential hidden costs of punctuation, when he described a lemon law case involving the Chrysler bankruptcy. Checkler reports that, the controversy revolves around the placement of a comma. Did Chrysler accept liability for lemons “resolved pre-petition, or in the future, on vehicles” manufactured five years prior to bankruptcy filing? Or did it accept liability for lemons “resolved pre-petition or in the future, on vehicles” manufactured five years prior to bankruptcy? If it’s the later, Chrysler is off the hook for paying claims made prior to bankruptcy. If it’s the former, Chrysler is liable.

When typesetting was done manually, letters were inserted backwards. Thus, typesetters were told to “mind your p’s and q’s,” because the two letters could be easily confused. Clearly, it’s now time to mind your commas.