Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T>
The appeal was filed late Monday after a Flint, Michigan area judge denied a motion to keep the two executives, Toyota Motor North America President Yoshi Inaba and Jim Lentz, head of U.S. sales for Toyota, from being questioned by lawyers for the family of Guadalupe Alberto.
Alberto was 78 in April 2008 when her 2005 Toyota Camry surged out of control on her residential street and went airborne before crashing into a tree in front of a house in her neighborhood, killing her instantly.
Toyota said the two need not appear for depositions that had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday and that the case should be litigated without the depositions.
Making Inaba and Lentz answer questions of opposing counsel before the trial would be unduly burdensome, harassing and would subject these apex level employees to deposition in nearly every product liability case filed against (Toyota Motor Sales USA), the company's attorneys said in a filing with the Michigan appeals court.
The two men would not offer any unique information that cannot be given by other Toyota officials, the appeal documents said.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, the Alberto family, said on Tuesday that he hopes that the Michigan appeals court will rule in time for the two executives to be deposed this week.
The Alberto case in Michigan is just one of dozens that have been filed in the United States against Toyota that in general claim that the automaker should have known about flaws to some of its vehicles that could cause unintended acceleration.
The Camry model that Alberto was driving was not among the 8.5 million Toyotas recalled globally in the past half year.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)