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Dallas Judge Upholds Most of Jury Verdict Against Toyota for Dangerous Defect

Final judgment for injury to children in back seat reaches $213 million

DALLAS – A Dallas judge has entered a final judgment of more than $213 million against Toyota on behalf of a Dallas family whose two young children were seriously injured by defective seats in their 2002 Lexus ES 300.

Lawyers for the Reavis family successfully argued that, based on Texas statutes regarding monetary caps for punitive damages verdicts, the original $131 million punitive award should be reduced to no less than $95 million. District Judge Dale Tillery left the jury’s compensatory damages verdict unchanged, bringing the total judgment to $213 million. The Oct. 26 ruling preserves the bulk of an August 2018 combined jury verdict of $242 million against Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Sales and other defendants.

“The men and women on this jury paid close attention to the evidence and the law in determining that Toyota deserved a sizable punishment,” said lead trial attorney Frank Branson of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson. “We’re pleased that the judge looked closely at the trial record and made his ruling.”

In addition to Mr. Branson, the trial team included Debbie Dudley Branson, Chip Brooker and Eric Stahl.

The verdict stems from a 2016 wreck in which Benjamin and Kristi Reavis’ two children suffered severe injuries when their Lexus sedan was struck from behind on a Dallas freeway. The force of the collision caused the front seats to collapse backward, seriously injuring the 3-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.

During the trial, the Branson team documented engineering, design and structural problems with the Lexus seats and argued that the automaker made a conscious decision to protect front-seat occupants at the expense of rear-seat passengers.

The case is Benjamin Thomas Reavis and Kristi Carol Reavis et al. v Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.; Toyota Motor Corporation et al., Cause No. DC-16-15296 in the 134th Judicial District in Dallas County.

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson maintains a reputation for courtroom excellence based on significant verdicts and settlements for clients in high-stakes litigation and business disputes. The firm’s record verdicts and recoveries stem from cases involving trucking and transportation injuries, dangerous products, construction accidents, commercial plane crashes, explosions and burns caused by gas and electric power utilities, oilfield injuries, workplace catastrophes and business disputes. To learn more, visit