|For Immediate Release
Case # 30-2010-00352900
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
OCDA FILES CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWSUIT AGAINST TOYOTA FOR ENDANGERING THE PUBLIC BY KNOWINGLY SELLING DEFECTIVE VEHICLES AND INTENTIONALLY HIDING DEFECTS FROM CONSUMERS
*This is the first consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota by a District Attorney’s Office
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA), with the assistance of the law firm of Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson, has filed a civil lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (Toyota) to enjoin them from continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices. The OCDA is the first District Attorney’s Office in the nation to bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota.
The complaint filed against the defendant accuses Toyota of knowingly selling and leasing hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks with defects that cause sudden unexpected and uncontrollable acceleration (hereafter known as defects). The complaint also states that Toyota continues to sell their defective vehicles to Californians without fixing the known problems and adequately informing consumers of the defects.
OCDA’s Jurisdiction to File Suit
Toyota is a California corporation with its principal headquarters in Torrance. As Toyota is accused of committing unfair business practices in the State of California, including in the County of Orange, the OCDA has the right to bring this consumer protection action on behalf of the People of Orange County. This case is based solely on California law and is directed only at sales, leases, other wrongful conduct, or injuries occurring in California.
Toyota Vehicles Subject to this Complaint
The following Toyota and Lexus brand cars and trucks have defects. The model years are designated in parenthesis: Camry (2007 to 2010), Avalon (2005 to 2010), Prius (2004 to 2009), Tacoma (2005 to 2010), Tundra (2007 to 2010), ES350 (2007 to 2010), IS250 and IS350 (2007 to 2010), and all Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles with model years between 2002 and 2010.
Background on Conduct by Toyota
The complaint accuses the defendants of ignoring, omitting, obfuscating, and misrepresenting evidence that there was a serious safety defect in their vehicles that was resulting in complaints, injuries, and deaths.
Beginning in February 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a series of investigations reviewing complaints into Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles regarding speed control, engine surging, and sudden acceleration. As is outlined in detail in the complaint, Toyota and NHTSA repeatedly closed their investigations for various reasons without finding defects, citing a lack of resources, “no evidence of a system of component failure,” “vehicles operated as designed,” “issue is not a safety concern.”