Week Adjourned: 4.4.15 – Toyota Camry, Babies R Us, JP Morgan Chase

Toyota LogoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Heads up Toyota Camry owners! The car maker is facing a defective products class action lawsuit alleging the car maker was aware of a defect in its Camry models that causes the cars’ air conditioning system to become moldy, emitting foul odors and potentially causing health problems.

Filed in Los Angeles earlier this week, the Toyota Camry lawsuit claims that Toyota’s 2012 Camry models have a “uniform and widespread defect” in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems that causes emissions of noxious and foul odors from the growth of mold in the system.

“Defendant has actively concealed and failed to disclose this defect to plaintiff and class members at the time of their purchase or lease of the class vehicles and thereafter,” the complaint states.

Further, the lawsuit contends that the affected Camry models’ HVAC system contains one or more design or manufacturing defect that causes the emissions of the bad odors from the mold. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to mold and its related smells is “extremely dangerous” and can lead to sickness, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and other health problems. Well, if it smells bad, it can’t be good for you, right?

The mold emanating from the HVAC system in the 2012 Toyota Camry vehicles allegedly grows on a part known as the evaporator, which is located inside the car dashboard. When cold refrigerant passes into the evaporator, it absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment and collects moisture from condensation, which creates a favorable growing condition for mold, the complaint claims.

When a consumer complains of the mold build-up in his or her Camry, Toyota “merely replaces” the defective HVAC components with the very same components, and doesn’t repair the defect, in violation of warranty, according to the lawsuit.

According to the plaintiffs, Toyota knew, or should have known, about the defect as early as 1997. However, the automaker “actively concealed” the defect and didn’t inform consumers.

Further, the complaint states that Toyota had “already offered” previous model year Camry vehicles that had similar HVAC systems and acknowledged the defects as early as 1997 and as recently as 2009.

The complaint seeks certification of a class of California purchasers of 2012 Camry vehicles.

Who’s really reaping the rewards here? Babies “R” Us, according to a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over allegations its rewards program was misleading and misrepresented what consumers actually receive when purchasing items from the retailer.

Filed by Stacy Tongate, the Babies R Us lawsuit claims that the Endless Earnings program promoted and run by Babies “R” Us offers shoppers up to 10 percent back on registry items purchased. The program, the lawsuit contends , is run in order to attract more customers to use the baby registry services.

According to the complaint, the popular children’s toy store launched the program in April 2014, offering benefits with no limits. However, The company in fact offers five percent of the first $300 spent by consumers. After the first $300, consumers are bumped up to 10 percent, Tongate claims.

The lawsuit is seeking class status for those who made purchases during the Endless Earnings program’s duration.

Top Settlements 

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pony up $950,000 …according to the terms of a preliminary settlement agreement reached in a California labor law class action lawsuit.The lawsuit was filed by the company’s California underwriters who alleged the bank failed to pay overtime and provide proper breaks. No comment.

The proposed agreement potentially ends the three-year-old lawsuit, which was filed by two loan modification underwriters who worked at a Chase location north of San Diego. They alleged the bank was in violation of federal and state labor laws and that they suffered from overwhelming workload requirements. Filed in 2012, by plaintiffs Mary Loeza and Angie Reveles, the suit claims that Chase saddled its underwriters with unrealistic quotas for processing mortgage loan modification applications that they could not achieve without working overtime.

The plaintiffs further claimed that Chase had a strict policy on approval of overtime and would punish employees who worked it without authorization, leaving employees to work off-the-clock and through meal breaks and rest periods to meet the elevated quota, according to the settlement agreement.

“Based on their knowledge of this action, plaintiffs determined that the settlement would constitute the best outcome for class members,” court documents state. “Likewise, Chase concluded that this action should be settled in order to avoid the expense, inconvenience and burden of further legal proceedings, and the uncertainties of trial and appeal.”

The proposed class consists of approximately 838 current and former Chase employees who worked at the bank between December 11, 2008, and the date the judge preliminarily approves the agreement. If certified, the settlement will see each class member receive a share of the settlement funds, fees and expenses are paid. 

Hokee Dokee—That’s a wrap folks… Happy Easter! Go celebrate!