• Feb 12, 2010
2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

The only surprise is that it took this long. Following the troubles Toyota Motor Company has been having with stuck accelerators and massive recalls, a class action lawsuit has been filed over the issues with the company's hybrid vehicles. Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a complaint in United States District Court Middle District of Alabama (1:10-CV-96997) on behalf of owners of a Prius and/or Lexus hybrids. Toyota recalled the Prius and the Lexus HS earlier this week to fix the brake system.

The complaint:
charges Toyota with breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, breach of implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The complaint alleges Toyota concealed facts relating to the defects in the accelerator braking system.

This is the third class action lawsuit filed against Toyota by Beasley this month over the recalls. More details about these after the jump.

[Source: Beasley Allen Law Firm]




PRESS RELEASE

Beasley Allen Files Class Action Complaint on Behalf of Toyota Prius, Lexis Hybrid Owners

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a complaint on behalf of more than 500,000 Toyota Prius and Lexus Hybrid owners whose vehicles have been recalled by Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court Middle District of Alabama (1:10-CV-96997) against Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

The complaint charges Toyota with breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, breach of implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The complaint alleges Toyota concealed facts relating to the defects in the accelerator braking system.

Dee Miles, who heads Beasley Allen's consumer fraud and class action department, will be working with lawyers Brian W. Smith in Florida, Joe R. Whatley in New York and Howard Rubinstein in Colorado.

"Toyota knew about these defects long before they issued a recall, yet they continued to market the vehicles as safe and reliable," says Miles.

Kelley Blue Book has adjusted the New Car Blue Book transaction value of the 2010 Toyota Prius down by $1,000 to $1,500 following Monday's recall announcement, and dropped the used-car values of 2009 and older models of the Toyota Prius by 1.5 percent. Used-car values of previously recalled Toyota models had already dropped by 1 to 3 percent last week and are expected to drop an additional 1.5 percent.

On February 3, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Toyota owners they should not drive their recalled vehicles. Secretary LaHood later recanted his statement; however, millions of Toyota owners have been left worried that their vehicles are potential deathtraps.

Today's complaint follows two other class action lawsuits filed by the Beasley Allen firm this month. On February 4, Beasley Allen filed a complaint seeking class action status on behalf of over 5 million Toyota owners whose vehicles have been recalled by Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida (10-80208-CIV-ZLOCH/Rosenbaum) against Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. A similar complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Alabama (1:10-CV-03423).

Beasley Allen also has filed an individual product liability suit in the District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma, on behalf of Plaintiffs Jean Bookout and Charles Schwarz, against Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.; Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc.; and DUB Richardson Toyota (CJ-2008-7969). This suit involves a case of unintended acceleration of a 2005 Toyota Camry, which resulted in serious injury and death.

About Beasley Allen Law Firm

Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, Beasley Allen is comprised of over 42 attorneys and 200 support staff. Beasley Allen is a national leader in civil litigation, with verdicts and settlements of over $22 billion including the $4.85 billion settlement with Merck on behalf of over 50,000 Vioxx claimants. The Merck settlement led by Beasley Allen was the largest settlement in American history. For more information about our firm, please visit our website at www.beasleyallen.com
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ezekiel 25:17
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is it just me, or do a ton of ridiculous lawsuits come from Alabama?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Alabama courts have been fruitful for certain tort lawsuits, particularly if the victim of the lawsuit is a big corporation that doesn't have their headquarters or major manufacturing plants in Alabama.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, everyone seems to love kicking the opponent when he's already on the ground...
      rcavaretti
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would wager that the quality of life here in these United States of America would improve in all aspects almost immediately if we followed Shakespeare's advice on lawyers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @rcavaretti
        So, if you were this guy [ http://www.twincities.com/ci_14377954?source=most_viewed] are you telling me you wouldn't want to sue Toyota if you get out of jail???

        And furthermore:

        The words, ‘Let’s kill all the lawyers,’ were not spoken by a disgruntled litigant (or even by Henry VI’s press secretary). They were uttered by the conspirators in Cade’s Rebellion, who planned to overthrow the English government, destroy the ancient rights of English men and women, [as such "rights" were available to women at that time], and establish a virtual dictatorship.

        Through the rebels’ threat, Shakespeare reminds the groundlings that lawyers, as protectors of that system of ordered liberty, are as much an obstacle to a rebellion that would curtail liberty as any garrisoned castle. Thus, Cade’s path to oppression leads inevitably over their bodies…”. — John J. Curtin, Jr., Esq., President, American Bar Association, published in the ABA Journal, September, 1990.

        from http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/shakespeare-and-lawyers/
        • 4 Years Ago
        @rcavaretti
        Everyone hates lawyers until they feel THEY have been wronged. Then suddenly it's "anyone know a good lawyer?"
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the reason America is going down the tubes real quick.
      • 4 Years Ago
      By the way - the picture at the top of this story - with the Prius at the endge of a steep - steeep hill, reminds me of last spring - driving a rental aroun San Diego - and coming to a place withthe stop sign - on the OTHER SIDE of an intersection, and thinking (before I saw why) that is strange!

      Then - I got to the stop sign - and saw why - the road just drops out from under you at what seems like a 45 degree or steeper slope!! (Not a good place to discover your brakes just failed, for sure!!!) Might want to drop the Auto Slushbox down from the big 'D' to 2 or even 1 before proceeding down that slope!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "unjust enrichment" now thats rich coming from lawyers filing a class action lawsuit.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's called the Legal-Lottery.

        Too bad all those Democrats in Congress HATE the idea of Tort Reform because they receive so much campaign money (bribes) from the State and Federal Trial Lawyers Associations. Insurance to defend against this Legal-Lottery is one of the driving forces behind our skyrocketing health care costs yet tort reform was left out of the 2,500 page health care reform bill..
        • 4 Years Ago
        So can those owners whose resale value has been dropped even further by news of all these class-action lawsuits play now, too, by suing the law firms who've filed them? If I owned a Toyota, think I'd have to at least consider seeing if I could find a lawyer who'd take that one on.
      gibbertec
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now, do we understand why GM killed their Electric Car ?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I own a 2009 toyota prius, and I hereby declare that I am opting out of this frivolous lawsuit.

      My car doesn't have any problems, and if it has an issue I will contact the dealer and deal with it myself.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good luck to you with that, sir. I had a 2002 Camry with breaks that would not stop. The company didn't care then, and neither did the dealer. When I say didn't care... I mean they didn't care if I died or if anyone on the road died...including children in a cross walk. Toyota has been lying to the American public for at least as long as my problems started.

        By the way, the car was purchase new. It has three break failures in one year before I simply could not drive it any more. The dealer...that you say will help you...glad you are so sure. Toyota of Orange (CALIF) -- where their moto is "you won't get a lemon at Toyota of Orange," was rude, uncooperative, uncompassionate, and denied the car had any problems.

        So when you go to your dealer with a big problem, like one that could cause death, be prepared. You are only a number.

        So how did my problem end? I wrote letters that forced the dealer to buy my car back...at Blue Book. Yeah, I took a loss... But I could not ethically sell the car private party. So does that make you wonder what happened to that VIN???

        Consumer rights on life-threatening issues like break failures has got to change.

        • 4 Years Ago
        You should make some noise about your decision otherwise this hybrid and EV thing will go the way of the EV1 AGAIN.

        This has been a really good ploy by the powers at be to slow the progress of EV and alternative energy vehicles IMO.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seems to me - from what I have heard - that the first story about a stuck Gas Pedal (Note - GAS, not Electric Pedal!) was about a CHiP Officer that should not have been given a License to drive! I mean - OMG - My Gas Pedals Stuck - I'm Helpless - somebody help me - oh woe is me - 9 - 1 - 1 --- Operator - My car is speeding out of control - please Help ---- Crash!

      Sounds like he had 2 seconds to put it into neutral, 1 second to put on the brake - and 2 more seconds to simply turn the key off - if he had any kind of straight road! I have turned of a car while driving just for experiementing with hyper-miling - in my truck, with no Ill effects other than harder steering! the Brakes still have a Vacuum Canister for 3-5 good pumps even before they get stiff! A Stuck Throttle - is as easily caused by crap getting in under the hood from cat's and squirrels, or from stuff blowing in under the hood from road debrie, just as much as some road debrie can take out a tire, and yet - the art of driving seems to be going the way of the Dino Saw Her (Dinosaur), with auto this, sensor that, child seat this, air bag that! What ever happened with being In Charge of the Vehicle? Actually driving the thing?

      In Aviation - we were taught a term set: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate! that means - in car terms, get off the phone, watch the road ahead and around, and drive the darn car!
      In the world of flying - I have flow in weather - that tosses you like a kite - and you are mostly a toy passenger - not a pilot - but - you still fly the darn plane right until it is parked!

      Imagine - the weather got rough - my flight had to return to where I left from - I think I should Sue the Weather man [flight briefer, interior decorator, upholsterer, aircraft painter, mechanic, tire manufacturer, fuel maker, engine maker, instrument designer, map maker, sunglass maker, shoemaker, clothing designer, belt buckle maker, chemist, and even - my parents] since I was the pilot in fact - and the vvery thing was the experience of mine, due to rough as _ell weather that exceeded the roll rates of the aircraft by about 20% for a short period. that is why we say - first you fly it, then you worry about where you are, and then you talk about it last! That is why - they call you - 'Pilot in Command!'

      Give Me a Car with a Stick Shift and I have the brakes in multiple forms - my right foot, my right hand and left foot, my left hand (Open a door at speed - it takes a lot of Muscle - with todays forward hinges - but it also makes a pilo of aero drag!), and also - my right hand - at the key switch (off = more drag on the driveline to slow the car!), over a CVT Hybrid Any Day! (Like some of the Orignial Honda Insights - with 5 speed!)

      Oh - and just maybe - like the days of Garage Door Openers opening the Neighbors door instead of your own - the modern electronics - got highjacked on the failed cars - with a beamed pulse weapon - Microwave - etc, and passed the Shielding, messing with the MPU (MicroProcessing Unit) and it's software operations!

      Hwy - what a fun time we live in - I will take an EV anyday! I don't have to drive to a cottage, but I would love to fly quietly to my own lake! (In an electric airplane!)
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're so fucking arrogant! Electric vehicles cant simply be turned off be turning a key or pressing the off button. It's a damn "safety" measure so you cant accidentally turn it off while driving. And opening the door would take miles, especially when the car is speeding up and the accelerator is stuck. Stop acting like you know fucking everything because you're a god damn pilot or something. You sound like a dumb fucking arrogant asshole to me! Christ, Toyota should be sued for everything they have since they have been purposefully and knowingly holding back all this information for years from consumers. I own a 2007 Prius, and would never have bought it if any of this info was out. And yes, I do have brake problems with my car. Toyota executives should each be given one of their recalled cars to drive everyday, and each of their family members as well. Then tell us nothing is wrong with them. Go dies already!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Brian Lee,

        So - now the Prius is an Electric Vehicle - and not a Hybrid - Gas/Electric Vehicle? Is that what you are bsing yoru comments about an 'electric Vehicle' on - or do you also have a Tesla Roadster (Or a hidden away EV1 Maybe?) that you are basing your info on?

        Just for the Record - I would like to here where in your drivers manual it says - 'this car can't be turned off while it is in motion, for a safety measure', But beyond that - I can turn off my Electric Car as a Safety Measure (Opposite of your thinking) - which I do have and do drive - by bottoming out the clutch pedal, or switching off the mains (from a switch below the hand brake that looks like a fuel selector on aircraft), or hitting the Red 'Kill Switch' - So - I also could kill the motor if I had a key interlock - which was not installed, but I intend to interface that as well.

        As far as opening the Door while driving - why would it take miles?

        And all - beyond that - I don't know about LA Freeways these days - but San Diego I just drove in last year - was pretty tame! And - as to speed - I have experienced a Drive of a distance that usually takes one hour on twisty two lane roads, with bridges, mountains, hills, dips, Slow moving Trucks & Cars, and turned it into a 30 minute drive!! Just 30 minutes - instead of 60 minutes, including slowing for traffic, bridges, etc. so you can see that it is not speed that kills!

        And so the Throttle is stuck - since this event and my last comment - we have had talk radio callers - driving on local freeways - bury one fot on the gas - and the other on th brake - to see what would happen, and - wait for it ..... the Car - started slowing down!! With the Throttle Burried to the mat (as if it was stuck there by some obstacle!), the Brakes on todays Cars can still slow and stop the car (Without even turning it off, but that would be quicker), and - as per the other commenter - Mike Dimmick - 8:35AM (2/14/2010)
        "It's worth reminding everyone that car in the CHP officer's incident was NOT a Prius or any other form of hybrid. It was a Lexus ES 350, not included in the sticking pedal recall."

        So - it seems it was just a case of floor mats, or whatever - it could have even been something in the car that fell, rolled and stuck the pedal. No matter - it was stuck. So yo want me to believe - that such a cars driving and operation is now the fault of it's maker, and not the operator? so - If the throttle Linkage jammed because something bounced up off the road - like a rock thrown from a truck tire - it's maker should be blamed for letting that happen too??

        Why not just sue them - "because you can!" (Why need some kind of reason?)

        More importanly - one caller on the radio describes a Real Issue - of a problem in that foot brakes failed, and emergency brakes failed, but - she did not state if she was driving an Automatic Transmision Vehicle (Most Likely!), or a manual Transmission Vehicle. As such - If she had a manual - She would have been braking and even down shifting, but - that can also be done - with an auto slushbox - just drop it into '2' or 'L' (The engine will only rev so fast for so long - it ain't a race car!) And - it wasn't a Toyota!!! Surprise!

        Anyway - enjoy the nice weather while it lasts, cooler temps coming!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's worth reminding everyone that car in the CHP officer's incident was NOT a Prius or any other form of hybrid. It was a Lexus ES 350, not included in the sticking pedal recall. The car had oversized all-weather mats fitted (designed for the RX400h) which could hold the pedal in the fully-open position. The pedal was found to be fused to the front of the all-weather mat.

        I've no doubt that he had the appropriate training, but it's well-known that people have trouble recalling and applying training when faced with an actual emergency situation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well Mike - that seems to me that his accident then was caused by an abnormal modificcation, not intended for or created by the designer or manufacturer, but of course - they still seem to get all the blame. I myself have had a varety of incidents in vehicles and some accidents, varying from cruise control issues, mis-judging the fact the the car ahead was stopped right on the traffic lane in front of me some 60 - 100 feet away on the Freeway - not just going slow, and have had collisions at speeds to nearly 50 mph, and still got out of my car - and went to see if all of them were essentially OK, before taking care of myself.

        Of course - in that 1.5 seconds - I was steering, braking, and down shifting to avoid a direct hit, and shortened the right front of my car by about a foot, and the accordian effect - moved the glove box back by some 6 inches too!

        Must have been the 9 years of working away from cities in construction environments, taking annual safety and basic first aid training kicking in. (It still hurt like _ell to hit a car at such speed, but their safety and condition was my first thought after the car came to a stop)
        Two cars written off, and now one killed, and I was the worst injured - took over a year to fully recover! (And that - with no broken bones, just muscle issues!)

        I believe the reason why people have trouble remembering how to deal with such challenges - is they aren't interested in class on those days of emergency training. Wittness the rain-caused accicents on roads in California, or the Snow Caused Accidents in Canada! IT's all the same - people don't pay attention to the details, never test their ability to control a car in abnormal situations ( Late Night in a large snow covered parking lot - skid, slide, and braking practice in their own cars, as well as backing up at speed, and changing direction, and learning at what speed you can no longer keep it controled or smooth, etc. )

        Even thinking about such things and considering the choices, options, and 'outs' or escape routes in such situations - while your not driving - gives you a better chance when the event happens for real, as you have already thought it out - and can now just deliver the actions!

        Anyway - it would be intersting to get a county by county report, month by month, and also state and country reports of similary issues - fatal and non-fatal auto related events, single, two, and multi vehicle occurences defined. I am still convinced - that the term 'Accident' is highly miss-used, and in reality could only describe - when you get involved in and event - that comes at you from your blind spots, impacts you, and/or causes you harm. Any other event where you can use the 'see and avoid' skills we were all supposed to be taught, should be more suitably called - 'on purposes' not Accidents, since we were on the road, 'on purpose', and failed to avoid a problent that we could see pending in our future, and so that is why - in 'accidents' - insurance companies have this line of blame... 'it was there to be seen' as I was told by my insurance company regarding the accident I had when the car in front of me when sideways on a bridge, blocking two whole lanes of traffic infront of me!

        Such event allowed me - go over the edge and destroy part of the guard rail and kill myself, or Hit the car - which was my prefered choice - but I did so as to steer while braking - to hit the left rear wheel well, not the drivers door where I was pointed when he swung sideways!

        Point being - even if you only have a couple seconds - the choices you make can be all the difference in life or death those moments!

        Drive Safe, and stay allert!
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a way to kill the green car market before it happen. There is practically no real greeneries on the market and the few that there is is been fought by recalls, regulations on battery life and general lawsuits...

      I said to stop subsidies, weird regulations and let the free market happen. A green car should offer more for less EX: 15 000$ for a small car with gasoline and natural gas operation of 100+ mpg. If it's bad on the roads then the natural market will not buy it, no need to regulate.
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