Toyota Facing Massive Safety Recall Class Actions

To date, Toyota is facing at least 89 class action lawsuits regarding safety recalls that could potentially cost them in excess of $3 billion, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuits commenced last fall when Toyota began recalling approximately 8 million vehicles worldwide because of persistent complaints about sudden unintended acceleration.  The thrust of the lawsuits is that Toyota owners allege their vehicles have dropped in value because of the recalls and that Toyota was aware of safety problems but concealed the problems from buyers.  Most of the lawsuits claim economic loss stemming from accelerator pedal problems, and allege that Toyota’s efforts to remedy the problems have been insufficient.  Some owners claim their vehicles continue to surge forward unexpectedly, even though they have been repaired. 

There are also lawsuits for Prius model recalls for an antilock braking problem. Toyota has advised it changed the design of Prius brake software at the end of January to correct the situation.

These recall related lawsuits are separate from personal injury cases and wrongful death claims arising from the safety problems.

On March 25, in San Diego, the U.S. Federal Court will consider whether or not to consolidate all of the U.S. class actions into a single jurisdiction, following which a determination will be made as to whether or not all the claims can be certified into a single legal action.

U.S. federal law requires that a class action have at least a hundred claimants and damages must exceed $5 million.  The court must be satisfied that the claims are identical or very similar.

In Canada, a class action has been filed against Toyota on behalf of Canadian owners of 2010 Toyota Prius and Lexus HS250h hybrids.  The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of purchase prices or payment equal to a loss in resale value and claims the vehicles brake systems are defectively designed because they shut off the brake power to save energy.  The case Marklely v. Toyota  Canada Inc., 10-0540, Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Leona can be reached at 250-869-1120 or at [email protected]

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