A putative class action alleging certain Toyota models contain defective hands-free phone systems has been removed to a federal district court in Missouri.
The lawsuit, originally filed in July 2019 in the St. Louis County Circuit Court in the 21st Judicial Circuit, alleges that when the driver of a class vehicle uses the hands-free phone system to make or receive a call, the person on the other end of the call hears an echo of his or her words, making “continuation of the phone conversation impossible to maintain.”
The complaint alleges the following Toyota models contain the defective phone system:
- Avalon HV
- Highlander HV
- Prius V
The Class Plaintiffs seek to represent includes all individuals who reside in Missouri who purchased or leased a Class Vehicle that, within the applicable period of limitations preceding the filing of the lawsuit to the date of class certification, has or had a defect such that during use of the vehicle’s hands-free phone system, the person on the other end of a phone call hears an echo of his or her own words. The complaint asserts violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by means of unfair practices, deception, and omissions, result in unjust enrichment, and breach of written warranties.
Defendants removed the case to federal court in September 2019 pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, citing the diversity of the parties, the amount of money in controversy, and the lack of any applicable exceptions to federal court jurisdiction in CAFA. In October 2019, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint. In November 2019, Toyota filed a motion to dismiss the case. Discovery is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2021.
The case is Freeman et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., et al., number 4:19-cv-02550, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.