In a major victory for Toyota and businesses in general, on January 9, 2013, Loeb & Loeb LLP’s Consumer Protection Defense attorneys successfully defeated a motion for class certification in a multidistrict litigation over customer complaints related to the anti-lock brake (ABS) systems in 2010 Prius and Lexus HS25h vehicles.
Owners of certain Toyota Prius and Lexus hybrid vehicle models filed separate class actions beginning in early February 2010, which were later consolidated into an MDL before the Honorable Cormac Carney in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. In a consolidated amended complaint, the plaintiffs claimed that Toyota did not disclose issues related to the ABS, in violation of consumer protection statutes. Toyota had announced a voluntary recall that addressed the specific alleged ABS issue that was the subject of the litigation on the same day the first complaint was filed.
The Loeb & Loeb LLP litigation team, led by Loeb attorney Laura A. Wytsma and co-counsel Kurt Kern and Cary Slobin of Bowman and Brooke LLP, successfully persuaded the Court that the plaintiffs were not entitled to class certification because Toyota resolved the ABS issue through its swift and effective recall and that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence that a substantial majority of class members suffered any actual injury.
Judge Carney denied plaintiffs’ class motion stating that, “Toyota presented substantial evidence that the updated software installed in the class vehicles as part of the national recall rectified any actual or perceived problem with the braking performance,” and “Plaintiffs presented no evidence to contradict Toyota’s evidence in this regard.”
Judge Carney also granted Toyota’s motion for summary judgment on the lead plaintiff’s claims, stating in the order that there was “no evidence of any injury suffered as a result of any problem with the ABS in his vehicle.”
Loeb & Loeb’s Consumer Protection Defense Department is comprised of more than 20 experienced litigators and trial attorneys who defend government enforcement actions, government investigations and private class action lawsuits that allege violations of consumer protection and unfair competition laws. The firm handles a variety of consumer-related litigation, with a focus on defending economic product defect claims, consumer privacy claims, marketing and advertising misrepresentation claims, and consumer finance-related claims.