— A Toyota soy wiring lawsuit has been partly dismissed after an appeals court sent some of the claims back to the lower district court.
The Toyota rodent damage lawsuit alleges Toyota switched its wiring harness from vinyl chloride to a soy-based material.
This allegedly causes rodents such as mice, rats and squirrels to chew the wiring and damage vital components.
Toyota argues rats and other creatures have chewed on things throughout history and vehicles from other automakers suffer the same fate.
But the plaintiffs say customer complaints allegedly prove Toyota knows the soy wiring is a problem.
After allowing the plaintiffs to refile their class action lawsuit multiple times, the judge finally dismissed the entire complaint.
The dismissal was appealed to the Ninth Circuit which sent the lawsuit back to the lower court based on a few claims.
On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of state fraud and consumer protection claims but reversed dismissal of some implied warranty of merchantability claims and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) claims.
The eight Toyota customers filed a consolidated class action lawsuit asserting seven claims for breach of implied warranty of merchantability arising under state law and one claim for violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL).
Judge Cormac J. Carney found the remaining claims are based on the same allegations and legal theories as in the first amended Toyota soy wiring lawsuit.
Toyota Soy Wiring Lawsuit Motion to Dismiss
Toyota filed a motion to dismiss the rodent damage lawsuit, but according to the judge, the Ninth Circuit’s mandate is clear.
"The appeals court affirmed the district court’s dismissal with prejudice 'of [Plaintiffs’] state-law fraud and consumer protection claims' and reversed the Court’s dismissal 'of [Plaintiffs’] implied warranty of merchantability claims . . . and MMWA claims.'” — Judge Cormac J. Carney
The judge says the Ninth Circuit held the plaintiffs had plausibly alleged their implied warranty and MMWA claims, but failed in their claims under state law fraud and consumer protection statutes.
According to the judge, to now dismiss the soy wiring lawsuit implied warranty claims, "would contravene the Circuit’s clear mandate and relitigate issues the Ninth Circuit decided either expressly or by necessary implication."
The judge also ruled it would be improper to permit the UCL claim to proceed after its dismissal was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
The Toyota soy wiring lawsuit will continue based on implied warranty of merchantability claims, but the judge dismissed the California Unfair Competition Law claim with prejudice.
The Toyota soy wiring lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Heber, et al., v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by Bisnar Chase LLP, Whitfield Bryson And Mason LLP, Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP, and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP.