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Class-Action Lawsuits Pursue Toyota Problem

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 02, 2010 10:11 AM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Toyota, Recall, Sudden Acceleration, Auto Accident, Floor Mats, Tundra, Saylor, Prius, Brake Override

A sozen lawsuits hoping to become class actions have been filed in the U.S. and Canada.

Toyota lawsuits

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IMAGE SOURCE: Toyota Web site

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is facing at least a dozen lawsuits seeking class-action status over the mysterious sudden acceleration problem that had led to 19 deaths.

At least 12 actions seeking class-action status have been filed in the U.S. and Canada, California, Florida, and Louisiana with the latest filed in Texas on behalf of the Pena family who claim they had a runaway Avalon, made by Toyota.

Robert Hilliard, (and IB member) of Hilliard Munoz Guerra LLP, believes the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, will include owners of all types of Toyotas from all over Texas.

He tells IB News, “The problem is not unique to the model, it’s unique to the design of the electronic throttle control system. What happens is there used to be a manual system if you press on the brake, you do not accelerate. But now Toyota has done away with that with the electronic throttle control system-intelligent (ETCS-i). It doesn’t matter if you are on the brake, suddenly you have a runaway car.”

Hilliard explains that the first time the problem manifests your life is in danger or the life of anyone who happens to be in a crosswalk, such as school children.

In the Pena’s case, Mrs. Pena was at a complete stop waiting for the traffic to pass when suddenly her 2008 Avalon accelerated, causing a crash. She was not injured. The Avalon had experienced an earlier acceleration problem as well, the complaint says.

The lawsuits follow multiple recalls by Toyota and a Jan. 26 decision by the company to stop U.S. production and sales of eight models to fix defective accelerator pedals.

The Fix

Toyota has just announced a “fix,” addressing the problematic accelerator pedals on 2.3 million recalled vehicles by installing a “precision-cut reinforcement bar” in the gas pedal mechanism to make sure the pedal returns to the idle position.

Toyota say the fix worked in multiple tests and the part is on its way to dealerships. Recalled vehicles will also have floor mats refigured so they do not engage underneath the gas pedal.

But Hilliard says the fix will not work. Even the company that makes the accelerator pedal believes the fix will not work, he says.

“Nobody understands why the ETCS-i overtakes the brakes, but a manual override would prevent runaway Toyotas.”

Brake Override System

The Washington Post reports that years ago when Toyota Motor began hearing complaints of runaway cars, the company filed to install a “brake override” system, even as other automakers turn to the technology to fix malfunctions. With a brake override, the driver can stop a car with the brake even if the accelerator is depressed and the car is revving at full throttle.

Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have that system installed in some of their vehicles, some as far back as a decade. The Post reports that General Motors installs brake override in most of its automobiles.

The problems with Toyotas are leaving dealers in the dark.

Hilliard says the latest instruction from company headquarters that dealers are passing onto their customers is to turn off the key if you experience sudden acceleration. But switching the car off will also cut the electronic steering.

“The fix does not work. Don’t drive them, take them in. The dealers don’t know what to do. With the Penas, they gave them a loaner, a Toyota,” says Hilliard.

“Electronics are not part of the issue,” Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said in a conference call, reports Bloomberg. The company has pinpointed the cause and has an effective solution, he said.

Toyota sent repair kits to dealers, whose mechanics will insert a metal replacement plate into the pedals of recalled vehicles, the company said. New cars will have a redesigned pedal, Lentz said. #


23 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Doug Burke
Tuesday, February 02, 2010 11:19 PM EST

My 2008 Highlander self destructed Jan 30 while I tried stopping behind vehicles coming to a red light. In what would be a simple stop, the vehicle decidd to kep lunging ahead and hit the rear of a Jeep Liberty, doing nothing to the Liberty but collapsing the front of the Highlander into a $15,000 pile of parts & labour. Odd thing is that mine was built in Japan with a Japanese pedal which is not supposed to be a problem. The media needs to provide a method for people who have had such accidents with Japanese pedals to come forward & shed light on to what may be a much larger problem.

Doug Burke
Sudbury Ontario Canada

Anonymous User
Posted by S. Jacob
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 5:24 PM EST

I don't think Toyota is being truthful about the extent of the problem. As the owner of a 2007 Avalon, my front floor mats are secured in place by a hook in the floor of my car, so I knew that this was NOT the problem! The fix they are proposing is a joke. They really need to rebuild the electrical/exceleration system to correct the true problem. 19 people killed by 'run away' cars is toooooo many for me!!!!

Anonymous User
Posted by Marie
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 6:59 PM EST

I just purchased a 2010 Matrix Toyota on Dec. 14th 2009. On January 11, 2010 not even a month! I get into a car accident! just my luck! I was driving on the freeway going between 50-60mph when I felt like the gas pedal just pushed down by itself and took off! with no time to press the breaks I end up crashing to a 4 door Honda Accord - with not much damaged (maybe $500 to repair bumper) in comparison to my car costing $10,000 in repairs! Luckily I'm ok! I don't feel safe driving this car!!! Toyota Customer Service is not much help either! They said they will have someone inspect my Gas Pedal and still waiting for someone to return my call????? It's so frustrating! I am risking my life everytime I drive this car!!!!

Anonymous User
Posted by Mark Mendoza
Thursday, February 04, 2010 1:39 AM EST

I had a Lexus LS 400 1993 where the accelerator got stuck as I was coming to a red light and my car slammed into the car in front of me.It caused over $8900.00 damage. I would like to join a class action suit. call me at 619-517-9696.

Anonymous User
Posted by Pat Mc Donagh
Monday, February 15, 2010 6:39 PM EST

I'm writing from Ireland. I purchased 2004 Avensis two years. No end of problems related to electronics and acceleration.ECU and now transmission has totally gone.Am hopefully going to get legal redress now Repeatedly fobbed off by Toyota dealer-reckon they know what the problem is,just sticking heads in sand in hope it will go away.

Anonymous User
Posted by James LoCicero
Thursday, March 11, 2010 1:18 AM EST

I have a 2010 Toyota Tundra. I fortunately haven't had an accident but don't trust the safety of my vehicle now that I know it's electronic and that I have no ability to stop or shift to neutral if the accelerator sticks. I'm also aware that my vehicle has lost its value. Can someone tell me how I can join the class action lawsuit? I can reached at 818-792-7635
James

Anonymous User
Posted by maribel
Thursday, March 11, 2010 11:39 AM EST

I have a 2010 toyota corolla and i am so afraid to drive it becasue of the recall.. Also i am handicapp and I would not be able to stop the car using any instructions that are informed such as put car in neutral or put the emergency brakes. i would like to join the a 'class action suit". please call me "646-533-7279" with any information.

Anonymous User
Posted by James LoCicero
Friday, March 12, 2010 1:18 AM EST

I am still trying to find out where to go to join a classaction lawsuit against toyota. I had my 2010 Tundra appraised by car max tonight and they quoted me 18,000. I have only 10,000 miles and paid 36,275 and have put over 4,000 into my truck in accessories(sunroof, running boards, navigation, snug top, bedliner and assimulated wood grain dash). I asked if they gave me so little because of the Toyota recalls and they said it played a big affect. Toyota needs to pay!!
James LoCicero 818-792-7635

Anonymous User
Posted by Frank Grobsky
Friday, March 12, 2010 10:09 AM EST

I am in the same boat as all of the above. I want to join a class action due to the fact that my 2010 Prius with 2,000 miles and many added features is worth nothing and I am saddled with the mind set that anything can happen when ever I get into the vehicle. My wife will not even ride with me

Anonymous User
Posted by Todd Sweeney
Sunday, March 14, 2010 11:17 PM EST

I too purchased a 2010 Tundra Nov. 30, 2009 and am trying to find out how to join a class action lawsuit. I was a die hard Chevy owner when I decided to purchase a Toyota because I trade trucks every two to three years and wanted a truck that was going to hold a better value. This was a slap in the face! I went and bought another Chevy so I can park this Tundra because I am sceptical to put my family in it. I called Toyota finance to see if they would give me relief on my payments untill a for sure fix was out for this truck and I told them I was going to park it. They were not at all willing to help me and the gentlman I spoke with was rude with me because I was bashing this truck and Toyota due to this recall and that they are not doing anything to buy these vehicles back before anyone else died or got hurt in them. I think Toyota needs to buy back these vehicles with the gas pedal problem, and I would like to tell them to stick this vehicle where the sun don't shine for not doing the right thing for the many people that bought these vehicles under the impression that they are safe vehicles and that the depreciation was less than american cars. SCREW YOU TOYOTA!!!! This will be my last Toyota if they don't do something quick to buy these problematic vehicles back. If you can help me join a class action lawsuit, please call. I am in Louisville, KY. (502) 905-1603

Anonymous User
Posted by James LoCicero
Monday, March 15, 2010 3:05 AM EST

That is well put Todd and I understand your frustration with Toyota. I am unfortunately not in the position to aquire another truck and must have one to run my business. I also have owned many Chevy trucks and had an '07 that I should have held on to but went to the Tundra and now find myself in this mess. I've submitted my information to three online law firms but haven't heard from anyone. I also believe Toyota should buy these vehicles back for the price we paid. I also put $4K into mine after I bought it but I'm sure they won't compensate me for that even though they sold me the truck on Aug. 22, 2009 knowing it had this defective electronics. I just wish we could find out where to join a classaction lawsuit.
If someone out there knows, please call me in California at 818-792-7635

Anonymous User
Posted by James LoCicero
Monday, March 15, 2010 10:36 AM EST

All you have to do is go on line and look up "Toyota class action lawsuit". There you will find lots of sites for information on how to participate. That is what I am going to do.

Anonymous User
Posted by james locicero
Monday, March 15, 2010 2:07 PM EST

It's not that simple. I tried what you suggested and got articles about lawsuits and links to law firms of which I submitted my info but have not received a call but no info about how to join an existing classaction lawsuit. Please call me if you are successful.Thanks, James 818-792-7635

Anonymous User
Posted by James LoCicero
Monday, March 15, 2010 3:13 PM EST

A blog was posted on this website at 10:30 eastern time this morning that has my name attached so since I responded to it, makes it look like I'm responding to myself. I ask that the people running this website be careful to attach the correct name with the blog submitted.

Anonymous User
Posted by Fred D
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:13 AM EST

I own a 2008 Camry, this is my first foreign car. I never expected this kind of issue(s), everyone kept saying go foreign you wont regret it. well yes I do regret it....

Anonymous User
Posted by sheffield
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 2:47 PM EST

I purchased a 2008 Tundra toyota. the electronics are now starting to give me problems such as the lights are coming on for no reason, i took it back to toyota and they said they fixed the problem a few days ago, now the truck will barely move when the gas is pressed, again i took it back to toyota with them saying it has to do with cylinder 7 and a spark plug. i am concerned about the problems with the gas pedal sticking on these vehicles, toyota service department is telling me this problem has nothing to do with the recall but i am concerned and dont know what to do with this vehicle.

I SUGGEST RATHER THAN A BAIL OUT FOR AUTO MANUFACTURES HOW ABOUT A "BAIL OUT" FOR THE PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT THESE WORTHLESS AUTOMOBILES THAT WE CANNOT TRADE, SELL OR DRIVE THEM WITHOUT FEAR OF THE GAS PEDAL STICKING AND KILLING US!

Anonymous User
Posted by oregonvc
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:02 PM EST

What happened to the Prius in California the same did happen to us back in 2000 with our Toyota Siena van. My wife was driving on I-5 in Oregon. She pressed the gas pedal to overtake a car and then when she pressed the brake to slow down the brakes didn't work. She drove into the HWY median fence to stop the car. When we contacted Toyota, they didn't admit any fault with their car (the same what they are doing now) and told us it was our fault that we do not know how to use their brakes. We have several cars but we didn't have a problem with other cars. I didn't buy a Toyota after that crash but I am also worried who else the part supplier has been suppling parts to. I can be reached at oregonvc@hotmail.com.

Posted by 2010 Stuck with a Camry
Thursday, March 18, 2010 4:36 PM EST

The law firm handling the lawsuit request a refund of the Toyota vehicles is Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Go to the cases link on their website and sign up at the bottom of the Toyota one. March 25 is when it will be decided if there is going to be a class action or if everyone will need to sue independently. Good luck!

Anonymous User
Posted by javacup53
Thursday, March 18, 2010 4:55 PM EST

I have a 2007 Matrix. The other day I was stopped at a stoplight and the check engine light came on. I proceeded to accelerate and the RPM went up but had nothing else. I was able to pull over to the side, turned car off and back on again - got some momentum going and pulled into a parking lot to wait for tow truck. Turned off car again, but did not re-start this time. I was told at the service department they will replace my computer. My car is not on the recall list, but this doesn't sound right. The blue book value on my car is terrible, but I am getting rid of it while I can. I would like to be included in a class action suit for the devaluation. I live in Arkansas. I can be reached at javacup53@gmail.com

Anonymous User
Posted by Lameuss
Sunday, March 21, 2010 6:25 PM EST

What a bunch of illiterate sheep. Ther is MOTHING wrong with these cars. Everyone is looking for an easy buck in a lawsuit.

Anonymous User
Posted by Lameuss
Sunday, March 21, 2010 6:25 PM EST

What a bunch of illiterate sheep. There is NOTHING wrong with these cars. Everyone is looking for an easy buck in a lawsuit.

Anonymous User
Posted by James LoCicero
Monday, March 22, 2010 10:28 AM EST

Too bad you can't say that to the CHP officer and his family that burned to death in their Lexus because the accelerator was stuck GENIUS!!

Anonymous User
Posted by Jack Sier
Friday, March 26, 2010 6:27 PM EST

I would like to join the class action against
Toyota I do not know how to go about it , Can someone Help ?
they supposedly fix the pedal problem on nmy Avalon 2009 which as 8500 Miles , now they have to replace the stirring assembly gear , what will be next nobody knows , not mentioning the value of the car on trading after all this

Comments for this article are closed.

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