The law firm, which runs class action against Toyota Australia, is encouraging “as many damaged car owners as possible” to sign up.
The class action is seeking compensation from Toyota, representing a potential pool of about 260,000 Hilux, Prado and Fortune owners who have purchased vehicles with potentially defective diesel particulate filters (DPFs).
Beginning this week, court-approved notices are being sent via email, text and post inviting those who acquired one or more affected models between October 2015 and April 2020 (an engineering fix was later published) to register for their compensation.
The legal basis comes from a recent federal court decision that ultimately awarded the main applicant $ 18,401 in damages. One calculation found that defective DPF cut the average price of an affected vehicle by 17.5 percent.
Extrapolated among more than a quarter-million owners of vehicles cited with the same potentially flawed DPF, according to law firm Gilbert & Tobin, it is likely to be “Australia’s all-time greatest class action award.” A figure of $ 2 billion has been mooted north.
However, it is more important for Toyota to note this than to file an appeal in this investigation, challenging the real and legal basis behind the loss reward, which means that this number is in the air.
“Toyota’s application includes challenges to the practical and legal basis for providing compensation, especially in situations where many members of the group have not experienced the DPF problem,” the carmaker said.
“At the same time, we understand that some customers have experienced discomfort and discomfort from this problem. We apologize for this. We’ve been working tirelessly since becoming aware of DPF’s concerns about an effective solution for aggrieved customers.
“At each step, we have implemented customer-centric and technically based remedies to address customer concerns.”
Gilbert + Tobin partner Matt McKenzie said the ruling now appealed was significant because it represents one of the few federal court cases that exercises the power to compensate group members in class action on an overall basis, and the total (potential) loss due to scale.
“The potential loss scale error reflects both a significant reduction in the price of all damaged vehicles and the sale of a large number of damaged vehicles,” Mr McKenzie said.
Subject to the outcome of Toyota’s appeal, Toyota owners who register for compensation and are deemed eligible to receive it will receive money under a court-supervised distribution scheme established after a favorable judgment.
It is in the best interests of both Gilbert & Tobin and Balance Legal Capital, which has so far covered all legal costs of running the case for three years, have as many applicants as possible for class action.
Balance Legal Capital seeks reimbursement of its costs, and asks the court to deduct an amount not exceeding 25 per cent of the total amount paid to members of the eligible group.
“It may demand a lower amount if more group members register their interest in receiving money under the judgment,” the statement added.
Need to learn its context? Read our explanatory part here.
More: Toyota has appealed to federal court as a DPF class action loom
More: Toyota Australia faces payout over federal court ruling DPFs are flawed