Toyota Motor Co. has agreed to pay approximately $3.4 billion to compensate owners of certain truck models with frames that are prone to rust corrosion and perforation. This will settle a proposed class action lawsuit in a California federal court. The owners of certain Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia trucks asked U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin to give preliminary approval to the settlement, which provides inspections for the approximately 1.5 million vehicles possibly affected by the defect, as well as the replacement of frames for an estimated 225,000 trucks.
If approved, the settlement will end the proposed class action complaint filed in March 2015 by owners from nine states, including New York, California and Florida, alleging that the frames of model year 2005 to 2009 Tacoma vehicles were not properly protected from rust corrosion, and that Toyota knew about the defect but failed to do anything about it.
Tundra and Sequoia owners were added to the case. The settlement covers 2005 to 2010 Tacomas, 2007 to 2008 Tundras, and 2005 to 2008 Sequoias. Toyota says that an inspection for each of the 1.5 million vehicles will cost approximately $60, totaling $90 million, and the replacement frames for the 225,000 vehicles will cost $15,000 each, for a total of $3.375 billion.
Toyota has promised that the inspection and replacement campaign will be at no cost to the vehicle owners. Additionally, the program will last 12 years from the date the vehicle was sold or leased, meaning any future perforations will be covered as well. The replacement and inspection policy remains valid if an owner sells the vehicle to another party. The owners also asked Judge Olguin to certify a class of Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia owners or lessees from the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and all U.S. territories.
The owners are represented by Timothy G. Blood and Paula R. Hearst of Blood Hurst & O’Reardon; Ben Barnow and Erich P. Schork of Barnow & Associates; Philip J. Milligan of Milligan Law Offices; Michael L. Roberts of Roberts Law Firm; and Jeffrey S. Hurst of Monteleone & Mccory. The case is Brian Warner et al v. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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