Vehicle owners and stockholders are filing class action lawsuits in the wake of a series of massive Toyota recalls, suing the Japanese automaker for the lost value of both stocks and the vehicles themselves. The company also faces a number of Toyota injury lawsuits filed by individuals who have suffered a severe personal injury or death in an accident caused by problems with the accelerator or brakes.
New Toyota class action lawsuits were filed recently on behalf of all Toyota hybrid owners in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday, and on behalf of California owners of recalled Prius and Lexus hybrids in Los Angeles County California Superior Court on Friday. Both Toyota class action suits were filed due to the latest Toyota recall of 2010 Prius and Lexus HS250h models over brake problems. In addition, a lawsuit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of all Toyota stockholders.
The Toyota stockholder lawsuit alleges that the company’s stocks dropped 20% because of the recalls, and charges Toyota executives with deceiving investors about the health of the brand when they knew that there were acceleration and brake problems. It names the company’s top executives, as well as the company itself, as defendants in the suit.
The two lawsuits filed on behalf of vehicle owners allege that the company long knew about problems with the Toyota hybrids’ brake systems but did not warn consumers. It charges Toyota with breach of warranty, product liability, negligence, and violating California fair business practice laws.
Earlier this week Toyota recalled more than 437,000 of the 2010 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles because the brakes ceased to work for a moment due to a software glitch. About 150,000 of the recalled vehicles were in the hands of U.S. owners.
The Toyota hybrid recall followed several waves of recalls over sudden acceleration problems in a number of leading Toyota vehicle lines.
In September 2009, a Lexus and Toyota recall was issued for 3.8 million vehicles that contained certain all-weather floor mats, which Toyota indicated could get stuck under the gas pedals, causing unintended acceleration. In January, Toyota issued another recall for 2.3 million Toyota vehicles, including 600,000 that were not subject to the prior floor mat recall due to an actual mechanical problem that was causing some gas pedals to stick. Shortly after, the company stopped production and sales on eight of its most popular vehicles, including the Corolla, Camry, and Tundra. The company has also announced it is recalling nearly 2 million vehicles in Europe and almost 80,000 in China.
The Toyota accelerator pedal recalls have resulted in more than 60 lawsuits, including over a dozen wrongful death and personal injury claims.