A Federal Court Allows FDUTPA Against Toyota To Move Forward (Alleged Defective HVAC System)
On October 25th, 2022, a judge from the United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of a consumer in an FDUTPA claim—denying a motion to dismiss filed by Toyota. The case of Jose Javier Perez, vs. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., et al centers around allegations that Toyota violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) by selling consumers vehicles with defective HVAC systems. In this article, our West Palm Beach deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyer discusses the allegations and the next steps in the legal process in more detail.
Toyota Sued for Bad Smells Caused By Alleged HVAC Problems
In 2019, the named plaintiff (Jose Javier Perez) purchased a brand new Toyota Prius at Central Florida Toyota, an auto dealership in Orange County, Florida. Shortly after the sale was finalized, Mr. Perez reports that he began to smell foul odors coming from the vehicle’s HVAC system.
A deceptive and unfair trade practices claim was filed against the automaker under the FDUTPA. He also filed a breach of warranty claim. Mr. Perez alleges that the company was aware of a product defect related to the HVAC system of 2019/2020 Prius models, but failed to disclose it to consumers.
Toyota Filed a Motion to Dismiss—Warranty Claim Thrown Out, FDUTPA Claim Continues
Toyota filed a motion to dismiss in this case. The company moved to get the entire case thrown out of court, including both the breach of warranty claim and the FDUTPA claim. The federal judge hearing the case ruled in favor of Toyota on the breach of warranty matter. That part of the claim was dismissed. However, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on the FDUTPA claim—denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
The FDUTPA is a Powerful Tool for Businesses and Consumers
The FDUTPA is a state law that protects consumers, businesses, and organizations in Florida from deceptive and unfair commercial practices. As the law contains a private-right-of-action, an individual or other legal entity that suffers damage due to an FDUTPA violation can file a lawsuit directly against the responsible party. Some notable examples of FDUTPA violations include:
- False advertising;
- Bait-and-switch practices;
- Material misrepresentations;
- Material omissions of fact; and
- Unfair or unconscionable practices.
Florida’s deceptive and unfair trade practices law allows plaintiffs to recover compensation for actual damages. For example, if the Toyota HVAC lawsuit eventually proves to be successful, plaintiffs could seek damages for actual losses—vehicle repairs, loss of intangible value, etc.
Set Up a Confidential Consultation With a Southeast Florida FDUTPA Attorney
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we have the specialized skills, legal knowledge, and proven experience to handle the full spectrum of FDUTPA claims. If you have questions about a deceptive and unfair trade practices case, we can help. Call us today for your confidential case review. Our firm handles FDUTPA claims throughout South Florida from offices in West Palm Beach, Miami, and Wellington.