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Class action suit seeks to have Toyota cover vehicle payments until repair is made


February 12, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter


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A U.S. national class action lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. has been filed under the federal racketeering statute.
Stanley M. Chesley of the Cincinnati-based law firm of Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co. filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
As of press time, Toyota Motor Corporation was unavailable to comment on the allegations put forth by Chesley. The allegations contained in the class action have not been proven in court.
The class action targets the defects, but it also “targets Toyota’s repeated efforts to deceive its car owners — and even its own dealers — as to the mechanical and electrical problems mushrooming within its fleet of vehicles,” a release from Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co. said.
The complaint alleges that “although Toyota knew of these problems years before the recent recalls, it continued to assure its dealers and the general public that its vehicles were perfectly safe.”
According to Chesley, if the court adopts his plan, Toyota drivers would qualify for temporary relief from their monthly lease or loan payments by tendering their cars for government-approved repairs.
“This novel, payment-shifting approach would benefit both Toyota drivers and the public,” Chesley says. “It would relieve drivers of the unfair burden of making payments on cars they can’t safely drive and would increase participation in this recall, thereby removing a greater number of dangerous cars from the streets.”
Although historically only 10% of owners take advantage of automotive recalls, Chesley says his plan would dramatically increase the participation rate, by giving Toyota drivers an incentive to bring cars in for the government-certified repairs.
The lawsuit also seeks to expand the recall to include all cars with the same defects, the release adds.