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Sandusky lawyer: Sudden acceleration deaths in cars ‘a national tragedy’

Melissa Topey • May 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

A local attorney involved in several sudden acceleration lawsuits would like to see legislators create a Car Owners Bill of Rights.

Tom Murray, partner with Murray and Murray law firm, for almost two decades has represented several families in Sudden Acceleration class action lawsuits against auto manufacturers, such as Volkswagen and Ford.

“It is a national tragedy,” Murray said.

He has written “Deadly By Design,” a book detailing the cover-up by automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after cases of deadly Sudden Acceleration came to light.

The book details many cases of sudden acceleration, including Murray’s introduction into the corruption and greed of auto manufactures dealing with sudden acceleration, with the heartbreaking story of Cleveland minister Leon Manigault.

Manigault was approaching 60 when he bought his first brand-new car, a Ford Crown Victoria. Manigault, his wife and two of his foster children were in the car when Manigault started the car to pull out of his driveway. The car accelerated suddenly and crashed into his neighbor’s house.

Manigault was left in a permanent comatose condition.

Murray first wrote the story to expose and educate the public on the cover-up he found. He now wants it to spur action.

“I am trying to use this book as a way of calling attention to the critical need of a Car Owners Bill of Rights. Car owners are entitled to know the risk of a car” Murray said.

He calls it Risk, Recognize and Respond.

He’s hoping to soon meet with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, on the issue.

The bill would make it a duty for manufacturers to inform a driver of the risks of a car — such as possible electronic problems — and how to recognize those risks when they happen, and also how to respond.

The firm has detailed where sudden acceleration has played a role in 5,000 deaths. The manufacturers, backed by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, blamed the sudden acceleration incidents on the drivers, alleging they hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The book details how a rush to bring untested electronics into the market led to electronic confusion and faulty design, the real cause behind sudden acceleration, a problem Ford knew about.

“They turned against the people who bought their product,” Murray said. “Every time a big shot didn’t pay attention to an engineer, every time they did that to save a few dollars they were betraying the trust of the engineers, the car dealers and the line workers as well”

A Car Owners Bill of Rights could also help protect the jobs of autoworkers, from the engineer to the line worker, by rebuilding confidence in American-made vehicles. Such confidence has been eroded by continual problems and delayed recalls, Murray said.

Proceeds from the sale of “Deadly By Design” will benefit the nonprofit Wightman/Wieber Foundation, which funds KidsFest and offers grants and scholarships to local residents.

“Wightman/ Wieber is concerned for children safety, family safety. Sudden Acceleration is a family safety issue” Murray said.

Want to help

Buy “Deadly By Design” to learn about sudden acceleration and help the Wightman/Wieber Foundation.



Paperback and electronic copies can be purchased at www.deadlybydesign.com   A Kindle version is available on Amazon.

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