ANGELES — Toyota has made it clear it is not standing for the
complaints that owners have filed against it.
do not believe plaintiffs have put forth any credible allegations to
the support the lawsuit,” Aaron Fowles, the company's corporate
communications manager, recently told the Northern California
company's response came after some Toyota and Lexus owners took legal
action after trying to cool off in their vehicles only to allegedly
be met with an unusual, pungent odor.
consumers — Paul Stockinger, Elizabeth Stockinger, Gailyn Kennedy,
Basudeb Dey, Brenda Flinn and Eliezer Casper — filed a class-action
lawsuit against the Lexus and Toyota brands with the claim that their
cars have faulty heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
that put out unappealing odors because of particles such as microbes,
which includes mold, the Northern
California Record reported
consumers, who filed the lawsuit on Jan. 3 in the
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, blame
Toyota Motor Sales because they allege that the company did not
release information regarding the malfunctioned HVAC system when the
customers purchased the vehicles. The plaintiffs want the trial to go
before a jury and are seeking damages including punitive, statutory
and compensatory, plus legal fees
Fowles said that Toyota prides itself on the service it has offered
its clients despite the allegations against it.
continue to stand firmly behind the integrity and performance of our
vehicles and believe that these claims are meritless," he said.
it comes to the opportunity and legal options that Toyota could
possibly take toward the plaintiffs, one factor could be federal
attorney Scott Cooper, who is not representing any of the plaintiffs
in the lawsuit, wrote a detailed article
about federal pre-emption. It is possible that it could be a
benefit to automotive companies in cases like the one against Toyota
under the the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.
The law permits the Department of Transportation to give automotive
companies "minimum safety requirements" to fulfill when
they are making vehicles. If the nature of the complaint interferes
with these standards, the defendant could have a good case and
federal pre-emption could come into play.
said he could not speak on the details of the case or if Toyota plans
to move forward with federal pre-emption or any other legal
processes. The statement comes after Fowles said he looked into
details of the case and Toyota's statistics and recent reports.
has been no stranger to having recalls filed against it. From airbag
defects to electrical ignition issues and acceleration fatalities, an
entire website is
dedicated to informing consumers on Toyota's alleged manufacturing
was unavailable to comment on the case. Lawyers representing the
plaintiffs — Paul R. Kiesel, Helen E. Zukin, Jeffrey A. Koncius and
Nicole Ramirez of Kiesel Law LLP in Beverly Hills — did not return
calls seeking comment.