• Jan 31, 2010
With Toyota's woes seemingly multiplying by the day, you knew it was just a matter of time before the lawyers arrived on scene. Cue two law firms, Parker Waichman Alonso and the Becnel Law Firm, that are joining forces in a bid to sue Toyota's pants off.
The suit hopes to attain class action status and is "intended to benefit all residents of the United States who purchased a Toyota vehicle of model years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and/or 2010 that is subject to the recalls." How many cars is that? We don't have a total off the top of our head, but considering the Camry has been the best selling car in the U.S. for all six of those years, and the Corolla has been number three or four over the course of that same time frame, we'll go ahead and say the answer is a staggeringly large number.

But hang on one minute: Since all the affected cars have been recalled by Toyota and will (eventually) be repaired, what could the two law firms possibly be suing ToMoCo for? Away we go:
[Parker Waichman Alonso] and the [Becnel Law Firm allege] that, as a result of these recalls, Toyota owners lost the use of their vehicles, and sustained, among things, economic losses and severe emotional distress. The complaint charges Toyota with breach of implied warranty and negligence, and seeks compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages for the Class, as well as equitable and declaratory relief. It also asks the Court to enjoin Toyota from implementing any fixes in the accelerator pedals of the subject vehicles without approval from the NHTSA.
There you have it. And yes, they really did mention emotional distress.

[Source: The Auto Channel | Image: Corbis]


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  • 98 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota: Moving Forward (even when you don't want to)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm partially gonna speculate and rant because I don't want to do laundry, grocery shop or get my oil change. Some people make me sick. From personal experience this has made me curious still weather this could be human error, inadvertent human error. I'm wondering how many of these incidents could be related to what type of foot wear the drivers were wearing? I'm a flip flop/sandal wearer until it snows. My toes function much like a ground hog, when they retreat, bad weather! I'll forget whenever i wear flip flops that my normal using the tip of the shoe or whatever doesn't always work. Using the tip of a flimsy rubber flip flop with barely part of my toes have caused me to lurch forward while stopped at a light but then I realize that my toes were barely on the brake. Same with the accelerator, I'll be wondering why I am not accelerating very well then realize, wait... D'Oh! One or two times then you remember for the season then forget after you've been forced to miserably wear normal shoes and socks because of cold weather and snow. How many of these incidents are in warmer climate areas or warm temperature times compared to colder temperature times. Oh, and don't forget about some driver's who stomped on the accelerator instead of the brake and crashed into busy markets who weren't driving a Toyota. Could some of the claims be looking for some payout. Everyone probably knows someone who's trying to scam for something. Some people make me sick. People trying to trade a baby in for a Chrysler 300, popping out a litter of babies and trying to get sponsors or having a baby to get more money from the government.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You both seem to forget ( or not know ) that 16 people are confirmed to be dead and about 250 crashes have happened, and counting.

        Most of these cars are two years old. The problem has been demonstrated at dealerships and Toyota knew of the problem a long time ago. Usually problems like this will start popping up over a long period of time. Complaints to the dealer are not tracked, but most certainly there are complaints into the hundreds or thousands.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nomoretoy:

        Wrong, they're just using those inflated numbers from the SRS. Just because a California democrat says it, doesn't make it official.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed,

        With the sheer number of Toyotas on the road, you wouldn't see this issue just here once, or there once.... You would see hundreds of thousands of complaints/accidents/millions of Toyotas racing out of control........................... which isn't the case.

        To put it out there you would probably have a better chance of getting struck by lightning twice than to have your Toyota accelerate on you.

        Unfortunately for Toyota, I see this pedal issue turning into a huge scapegoat for speeding/accidents regardless of cause.

        • 4 Years Ago
        In the Consumer Reports analysis, which only cover MY 2008, the only Ford model with an evelated complaint level was the F-150 and in many of those cases, the drivers clearly said the hit the gas pedal by accident due to the arrangement and width of the pedal. Since the law requires the vehicle be safe in actual use, Ford may yet have to recall those vehicles. But with some claiming the vehicle did it on its own, it may take a bit longer before action, if any, is taken.

        As for Toyota, an L.A. Times analysis of NHTSA files found a spike in complaints as soon as ETC was introducted, so this sandals or whatever other driver error BS doesn't pan out. There might be millions of Toyotas out there, but there are millions of other cars out there, especially GM and excepting Ford's F-150, none of these cars are getting these number of complaints. This is going to get uglier and uglier yet for Toyota because now Consumer Reports is trying to collect stories of unintended acceleration in ALL makes on their blog and of course we now have two congressional hearings scheduled, so a large portion of the truth, whatever that may be, will be coming out.

        As for the class-action lawsuit, the best it can do is perhaps force some of the records public. It won't be of any financial benefit of anyone except the lawyers. Of course, if there's a settlement, it'll be an additional embarassment to Toyota.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, nevermind. I found it neptronix. You're referring to the independent investigation by Safety Research and Strategies, Inc. I investigated into their claim more. Those #s are from 1999. That does NOT mean that most of those cars involve are only two years old. Where the heck did you get that? Also, they used the following sources:

        "Consumer complaints to NHTSA
        Toyota-submitted claims from several NHTSA investigations into unintended acceleration
        Incidents reported by media organizations
        Consumer contacts made to our firm and other firms that are reporting incidents they have received"

        - even though those sources are VERY likely to overlap with each other in claims, which they acknowledged. Not to mention that these are CLAIMS, not-officially-linked-to-be-Toyota's fault, open and shut cases.

        http://www.safetyresearch.net/2010/01/29/toyota-unintended-acceleration-complaints-update/


        ---------------------------

        No wonder your numbers are so inflated. Ugh.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jeez@ No, the numbers are not wrong. An official from the nhtsa on a radio interview this afternoon confirmed that number as a minimum. They are reopening the books on all deaths related to sudden unwarranted acceleration and he suspects that their will be many more as claims dating back to 1999 that were dismissed or filed away as mere excuses will now be looked at with a magnifying glass. It could take up to a year or more to get a total number.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do you have a link to that neptronix? I'm not calling you a liar, but I haven't heard anything about those numbers so I'm wondering where you got them and what date range do they pertain to. I'm asking because I've seen so many numbers now.

        Reilly from the earlier AB article said:
        "Actually, I did mean 12 incidents. There are only 12 reported incidents with this recall to date. Of course there are a lot of anecdotes about other unintended acceleration issues, but 12 is what they're reporting right now."

        In another aticle, it said 2008 model Toyotas have had 52 complaints up to august of last year (before all the publicity, which would increase the numbers wildly), and Ford came second with 38 complaints. Now, complaints doesn't mean that none of it was user error- these are not solved cases. Not only that, it's strange that another automaker (Ford) got only a dozen less complaints, and were they investigated as throroughly?

        http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/toyota-tops-complaints-of-unintended-acceleration-report-says/
      • 4 Years Ago
      According to pedal supplier CTS Corp,
      "As Toyota stated, this recall is different from and unrelated to the “sudden, unintended acceleration issue” which was the subject of the November 2009 Toyota recall. In the November recall, the pedals in Toyota models dated back to model year 2002. CTS became a pedal supplier in 2005. Accordingly, our products are not implicated by the November 2009 recall. The products we supply to Toyota, including the pedals covered by the recent recall, have been manufactured to Toyota’s design specifications."
      http://www.ctscorp.com/publications/press_releases/nr100127.htm

      "Toyota Motor Corp.'s decision to blame its widening sudden-acceleration problem on a gas pedal defect came under attack Friday, with the pedal manufacturer flatly denying that its products were at fault.
      the Times review of federal safety records shows several instances of complaints of stuck pedals on vehicles built in Japan, which Toyota has said are not subject to the recall. For example, one complaint, filed two years ago, told of a 2007 Japanese-built Camry in Maryland with a pedal that "stuck to the floor."
      A wide group of national automotive experts say there is strong evidence that a hidden electronic problem must account for at least some, if not most, of the Toyota sudden-acceleration events."
      http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-pedal30-2010jan30,0,4401302.story?track=rss


      1. Faulty Toyota models dated back to model year 2002. CTS became a pedal supplier in 2005.
      2. 'Made in Japan' Camry also sudden-acceleration.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "It also asks the Court to enjoin(forbid) Toyota from implementing any fixes in the accelerator pedals of the subject vehicles without approval from the NHTSA."

      Were these lawyers not kept up to date on the latest fix? Toyota is trying to get approval for a fix from NHTSA. These lawyers cracks me up. Seem like they'll just sue anyone just to make a quick buck.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And according to the Sunday paper today, Toyota got it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...and now, a word from our sponsor:

      "Whenever I see an accident, I think of the people who get hurt. Too often we're not...err, I mean - they're not properly compensated for their hardship."

      "We at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe can help. We will tell you our fee up front, after the case is settled, win or lose - you have our word on it..." :)

      Now back to the forum for more knock-down, drag-out, free-for-all, full-contact comments..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lawyers make me sick, only people who will be getting big bucks out of this are the lawyers while every joe blow will get anywhere from $5 - $20 bucks out of a settlement if there is ever one..
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bought a 2007 Tundra the day before the recalls. I thought I got a good price on a good investment. What pisses me of is that not once did anyone in the dealership mention recall. They had to have known and concealed the fact that the vehicle they were selling me was potentially hazardous and wouyld definately loose it's value after the recall announcment.
      The only issue I've had was backing into my garage. It accelaerated in reverse and took off on me but the brakes worked fine and I was able to stop the truck before hitting the wall. Guess I just gotta make the best of what I bought.
      • 4 Years Ago
      just a way for lawyers no make millions and consumers and companys get ripped off...why companys? because if they loose millions in a lawsuit, who gets to pay the bill? future customers...!!

      i think class action suits should be banned..but there is too much money in it for the lawyers, and those who make the laws....the same bunch....who passed this law in the first place...we should sue them....or at least remove them from office....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here's what that statement means:

      "We're lawyers, and we want you to sue Toyota. They owe you money, and we'll help you get it-after taking our share of course. The more of you suckers, um, plaintiffs we get the more money we, that is, you will get. So, sign up!"

      These sort of class action suits result in settlements that are a windfall for the lawyers involved, but pay off the plaintiffs a tenth of what they expected, if that much.
      • 4 Years Ago
      omg i really feel sad for toyota, everyo maker makes a recall, but never have i seen all automaker joining together for a gang rape.. through incentives.. etc, and people sueing and media is reporting as if its a new september 11. attack... now i feel ;like its a conspiracy to promoe gm chrysler and ford cause they have they r now owned by government
        • 4 Years Ago
        hey @333 ford ain't owned by the government....it didn't even ask for any federal money
        • 4 Years Ago
        Almost any other automaker would happily trade places with toyota in exchange for this problem to handle.
        It is a setback and a bad time for it on the heels of the down economy.
        It will be dealt with.
        The only thing that worries me is if it sets them back a step bringout out new hybrid models as I am really anxious to see what they do there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1. Ford is not owned by the government.
        2. Learn to spell.
        3. If you can't do 2, use spellcheck.
        4. Proofread before hitting the 'add comment' button.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Peter Rockwell@ It's Autoblog dude, and I don't think it's really hard to understand. He's not doing s.th official.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You knew this was coming.

      My question is what did NHTSA & Toyota know in 2004 when this issue first popped up and what did they do about it at that time? The answer to that could either validate or disclaim this lawsuit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bought a 2010 Camry last July. It is the first new car I've bought since my Toyota truck in 1992. Though I no longer own the truck, it is still running around in the community where I live. This was a major investment for me. My primary reasons for buying a Camry? Safety and reliability. I did my homework on researching this car, but nothing came up about the floor mat issue or gas pedal issues. So, I drove that new car out of the lot, floor mat in place, thinking "wow: what a great car. About 2 weeks later I got an online survey from Toyota asking how I like the car so far. I pretty much gave a glowing response except for one little nagging trouble. My gas pedal is a little sticky. I'm thinking "I'll get checked out in my first 5,000 mile servicing" Fast forward to now. I am angry, worried, and I won't be taking that road trip to MN this summer. Emotional impact - you bet! Financial impact? Well, let's see. Is my insurance coverage going to go up? It might. Certainly the reputation that Toyotas have in terms of resale value has been tarnished probably for years. I don't want to sue Toyota. I want them to take this car back and refund my money. End of story.
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