Toyota Prius bad odors allegedly come from defective air conditioning systems that cause mold.

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Toyota Prius Class Action Lawsuit Over Bad Smells Hangs On
Toyota Prius bad odors allegedly come from defective air conditioning systems that cause mold.

— A Toyota Prius bad odor class action lawsuit is hanging on in court, but only after several claims were dismissed permanently.

The Toyota class action lawsuit was filed by Florida plaintiff Jose Javier Perez who purchased a new 2020 Toyota Prius Prime in August 2019.

The plaintiff contends he noticed a bad smell in the car within a week of buying the Prius. The lawsuit alleges the bad odor was emanating from the air conditioning vents.

Alleged defects in the Toyota Prius heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system causes the bad odors and Toyota failed to warn consumers about the alleged defects.

According to the Toyota lawsuit, bad smells in the following vehicles are caused by “[m]icrobes growing on the evaporator surface” and “small living bacteria. . .carried into the evaporator case [that] grow in the warm, moist environment.”

  • 2006-2020 Toyota Prius
  • 2017-2020 Toyota Prius Prime
  • 2010-2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
  • 2012-2016 Toyota Prius c
  • 2012-2017 Toyota Prius v

Perez filed his first amended Prius class action in January 2022 and Toyota filed a motion to dismiss the suit.

Judge Otis D.Wright, II, denied Toyota's motion with respect to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) claim, but granted Toyota's motion to dismiss implied and express warranty claims.

However, the judge dismissed the two claims with leave to amend, meaning the plaintiff could change and refile those claims against Toyota.

The plaintiff then filed a second amended Toyota Prius class action lawsuit for violations of the FDUTPA and breach of implied warranty. The plaintiff chose not to amend or refile a breach of express warranty claim.

Motion to Dismiss Toyota Prius Bad Smell Warranty Claim

Toyota filed a motion to dismiss the breach of implied warranty claim by arguing the claim can't hold up because the plaintiff didn't purchase his Toyota Prius directly from Toyota.

The judge granted Toyota's motion by referencing other court cases.

“Under Florida law, a plaintiff cannot recover economic losses for breach of implied warranty in the absence of privity.” — Mesa v. BMW (2005)

“Consistent with the overwhelming weight of Florida law,” courts have “repeatedly ruled that to establish contractual privity to state a breach of implied warranty claim, plaintiffs must purchase the product at issue directly from the defendant.” — Padilla v. Porsche (2019)

“Although a consumer who purchases a product from a dealer[] is in privity with the dealer, the consumer is not in privity with [the] manufacturer for purposes of enforcing an implied warranty of merchantability.” — Varner v. Domestic Corp. (2017)

According to Judge Wright, Perez purchased his Toyota Prius from a non-party dealership which does not place him in privity with Toyota for purposes of enforcing an implied warranty under Florida law.

The judge once again dismissed the implied warranty claim, but this time without leave to amend.

In the latest order from the judge, he set a February 22, 2023, deadline for the plaintiff to file a motion to certify a class action lawsuit, a March 15 deadline for Toyota to file its motion to deny class certification, a deadline of March 27 for the plaintiff to file a motion in support of certification and an April 12, 2023, deadline to hear the motion for class action certification.

The Toyota Prius bad smell class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida: Jose Javier Perez, vs. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., et al.

The plaintiff is represented by Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert, Gordon & Partners, and Edelsberg Law.


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