The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) on Friday filed a civil lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. to enjoin it from what OCDA claims are “continued unlawful, unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices as it pertains to both consumers and competitors.” The OCDA is seeking civil penalties in the amount of $2,500 for every violation of the Unfair Business Practices Act.
The OCDA is the first District Attorney’s Office in the US to bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota.
The complaint accuses Toyota of knowingly selling and leasing hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks with defects that cause sudden unexpected and uncontrollable acceleration. The complaint also states that Toyota continues to sell their defective vehicles to Californians without fixing the known problems and adequately informing consumers of the defects.
Toyota is a California corporation with its principal headquarters in Torrance. As Toyota is accused of committing unfair business practices in the State of California, including in the County of Orange, the OCDA says that it has the right to bring this consumer protection action on behalf of the People of Orange County. This case is based solely on California law and is directed only at sales, leases, other wrongful conduct, or injuries occurring in California.
The complaint accuses Toyota of ignoring, omitting, obfuscating, and misrepresenting evidence that there was a serious safety defect in their vehicles that was resulting in complaints, injuries, and deaths (58 as of 6 March 2010, according to OCDA).