Archive for January, 2010
Safety Expert Says New Fix Still Won’t End Runaway Cars
New Toyota accelerator pedals have passed tests for problems and are being shipped this week, according to the supplier, CTS of Elkhart, Indiana.
Toyota has recalled more than two million cars and stopped sales and production because of “sticky” accelerator pedals that could cause cars to race out of control.
“New pedals are being made to their new specification to solve this recall issue and they’re being tested and parts are beginning to be shipped,” said Mitch Walorski, director of investor relations for CTS.
There was no immediate comment from Toyota.
At the same time the new parts were being tested and shipped, Toyota expanded the recall by at least two million cars, to include cars and trucks in Europe and China with the same gas pedals from CTS.
CTS, however, suggests it is being made a scapegoat by Toyota.
“The products we supplied to Toyota, including the pedals covered in the recent recall, have been manufactured to Toyota’s specification,” said Walorski.
“It’s a rare set of conditions and that rare set has only occurred in very few instances causing no accidents or injuries,” said the CTS executive.
A leading safety analyst said he believed that “the largest number” of the reported accidents and deaths are the result of other problems with Toyotas beyond gas pedals and loose floor mats that have not yet been fully explored.
“It’s not one single issue that’s causing these unintended acceleration complaints to rise to the top of the defect chart today,” said Sean Kane, of Safety Research & Strategies, a private auto safety firm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
We all know why big time law firms do pro bono work. It could be for many reasons. All clearly altruistic and humanitarian. â€œGiving back to the communityâ€. Giving associates some legal experience. It could be for reputational effect, or simply, for that warm, fuzzy feeling we all get inside when helping those less fortunate.
Generally speaking, pro bono work makes for good press. But this is not always the case.
Pillsbury Winthrop, a major law firm based out of San Fran, received a good beat-down in the local San Francisco media this week for its pro bono help to a man named Bob Kaufman.
Kaufman is a fan of â€œantique carsâ€, also known as “JUNK CARS”. The aged and rust-full ones we all have come to love. According to court documents, Kaufman â€œis addicted to acquiring vehicles. Over the last two years, he has had an average of seven cars parked on San Francisco streets at any one time.â€
Man, his neighbors must hate this guy.
Kaufman violated a San Francisco parking law requiring that cars be moved every 72 hours. Two of his clunkers were confiscated. He decided to sue the city of San Francisco and the police department for taking his darling cars away. He met a Pillsbury attorney at a legal clinic and the firm took pity on him.
From the Chronicle:
“But now Kaufman has something else â€” Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw, a high-powered international law firm. Although the Pillsbury Web site says the local office focuses on banking, technology and real estate, currently it is helping Kaufman get two junker cars back from a tow yard.
So far, the city is out $71,320 fighting what the city attorneyâ€™s office insists is a frivolous lawsuit.”
So now, poor Pillsbury is hearing it because the “cause” they took up doesn’t justify the spend of the city defending itself.
Two partners are involved in the case: Blaine Green and Thomas Loran. Loran is quoted in the article:
â€œLast time I checked it is not unlawful to park on the street,â€ said Tom Loran, a senior partner. â€œThe city has taken an aggressive approach to a guy they donâ€™t like.â€
Kaufman has taken an aggressive approach himself. This is the sixth lawsuit he appears to have filed against the city. Though this is the first time heâ€™s gotten help from a massive law firm.
Loranâ€™s appearance in the article prompted some hateful comments from Chronicle readers, including this one from â€œoldfart1â€:
the senior partner of the Pillsbury should let the guy park his rusty RV in front of his mansionâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.
A spokesman for the city also attacks Pillsbury in the article:
â€œWhat you have is this white shoe, downtown law firm using scorched-earth tactics to fight for the right to litter the neighborhood,â€ said spokesman Matt Dorsey.
This doesnâ€™t reflect well on Pillsburyâ€™s pro bono efforts, but the coverage could have a positive outcome. Potential corporate clients might be impressed by accounts of the firmâ€™s â€œscorched earth tactics.â€
Either way, the lesson in all of this, is the man should have junked the cars for money. Or purchase a lot to fill up with all his mangled metal.
That way his neighbors wouldn’t have been able to snitch on him.
When I turned 16, I got this:
Diddy’s 16 year old son just received this:
16!16!16!16!, THE KID IS 16. He’s rolling around in $360,000 car.
If i see that kid i will punch him in the Guccis.
Grumpy old men in drag-down dust-up
from the N.Y. Post
Call ‘em the fighting fogies.
An angry 83-year-old brawler beat a 99-year-old man old with a metal steering-wheel lock in Brooklyn in a fight over parking, authorities said yesterday.
The geriatric dust-up happened at 2:10 p.m. Monday across the street from Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park, when Gersh Gofman, 83, of Sheepshead Bay, pulled his car in front of the driveway outside Steve Pulwers’ house.
Pulwers, who’s just two months shy of 100 and lives above a doctor’s office, said he was putting out the trash and knocked on Gofman’s window when the doctor returned for an emergency call and couldn’t get into the driveway.
“The doctor honked the horn, one, two, three, four times,” Pulwers told The Post. “I say, ‘Gentleman, the doctor wants to go into the garage.’ He did not answer. He then got out and takes a metal tool and hits me. He knocked me to the ground.”
Pulwers, a retired Manischewitz wine-factory employee, said Gofman pinned him to the ground with his knees. The near-centenarian said he was helpless, and tried to use his coat to defend himself.
“I hit him in the leg with my coat like a little fly,” he said.
Gofman, who hadn’t said a word up to that point, then threatened Pulwers in Russian.
“He said he was going to send somebody to cut off my balls,” Pulwers said.
The doctor called 911, and Gofman was arrested. Pulwers was taken to Maimonides where he was treated for a broken nose and broken ribs.
“He’s much younger than me, much stronger. He could be my son,” Pulwers said of the comparatively spry Gofman. “Maybe he’s crazy or maybe not normal, because a normal person doesn’t try to fight an old man who is close to 100 years old.
“I’m lucky I’m still alive. I thought he was going to kill me.”
Pulwers said they had gotten into an argument over parking in November when he had asked Gofman to move out of the driveway, and the younger man had shoved him.
“This time he was prepared to hit me,” Pulwers said.
Gofman’s lawyer, Michael Pate, said his client was there because he had taken his wife to the hospital and that he was “not looking for trouble.”
“He’s an old man who got caught up in a situation,” Pate said. “We’re not talking about two street thugs battling over territory. It’s an unfortunate incident.”
Gofman, who has no criminal record, was charged with assault, menacing and harassment, and released without bail. He’s due back in court Feb. 25.
The videos you are about to see may be some-what spine-tingling. Watching these videos may cause fear of driving for about an hour after viewing.