Toyota soy wiring class-action lawsuit that was dismissed in June 2018 has been resurrected after an appeal. What happened in the original suit and what’s the appeal?
According to the Toyota soy wiring class-action lawsuit, the use of soybean wiring harnesses draws mice, rats, and other rodents to chew at the wiring rendering the vehicle unsafe.
Which cars do not have soy-based wiring?” Going back as far as the 2011Toyota models Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius, Prius C, Tundra, and Toyota Highlander come with the soy wiring. It’s been reported that Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Dodge also luxury brands like Tesla, Audi, and BMW have also introduced soy-coated wiring too in their automobiles.
The Original Lawsuit Against Toyota
In the original lawsuit, the plaintiffs stated that Toyota began to use “soybean coated wires” in various vehicles and now rodents are more attracted to the wiring. After being chewed on, the wiring sustained damage and caused a wide array of function failures leading to potential safety hazards.
This class action lawsuit stated that damage to the wiring should be covered under warranty. The automaker denied that this problem won’t be covered under warranty as the damage was done by rats. The plaintiffs say in the suit that Toyota claims the chewing damage as an “environmental condition” and not eligible under Toyota’s warranty for repairs for any “defects in materials.”
The lawsuits claimed that Toyota didn’t notify its customers about soybean-coated wires and also didn’t disclose that the coating is attractive to rodents which increases the possibility of such an incident happening. The plaintiffs claimed Toyota’s actions violated consumer protection laws for years.
This suit was dismissed in June 2018. The judge ruled that the implied warranty violations relied on the action of the rodents and not the vehicles themselves. The judge ruled in favor of Toyota saying that the plaintiffs alleged a defect, they should allege a design problem not a materials problem.
Appeal – Class Action Lawsuit Resurrected
The plaintiffs, according to Car Complaints, had four opportunities to refile the suit, however, the judge dismissed the lawsuit because it failed to prove that soy-based wiring constituted a “latent defect.”
An appeal was filed which partially affirmed and reversed the ruling by Judge Andrew J. Guilford. The plaintiffs stated that the soy-based wiring coating increased the incidence of rodent damage to the vehicles.
Another appeal claimed that customer complaints prove that the automaker downplayed the incidents of wire damages. The appeals court didn’t find those complaints to be persuasive. The district court also refutes attempts to apply implied warranty of merchantability and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) claims. It ruled that the defect in the wiring wasn’t an issue at the time the vehicles were sold.
To have a claim, the appeals court said that the defect had to exist at the time of sale. They also found the district court identified the rodents inaccurately, as the supposed defect. The alleged defect was the soy-based wiring coating. The alleged defect was present at the time of the sale even though damage occurred later.
Interesting Notes About Toyota Soy Wiring Class Action Lawsuit
- The lawsuit claims that the use of soybean wiring coating draws mice, rats, and other rodents to chew at the wiring rendering the vehicle unsafe.
- The previous lawsuit was dismissed over failure to plead with particularity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). The soybean-based wiring didn’t constitute a “latent defect.”
- The district court judge dismissed the implied warranty of merchantability and the MMWA and claims under 13 states’ consumer protection statutes.
- Toyota claims that rats have historically been pests that behaviorally chew on things and that’s just “a fact of life.” The appeals court doesn’t dispute their claim.
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