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Who is to blame if rats like to chew on soy-based wire?

11/4/21 – You may recall seeing reports such as the one in the New York Post about irate Tesla owners fuming over rats chomping on the wiring in their $70,000 cars. Owners of Hondas, Toyotas, Hyundais and Kias have also reported chewed wires.

So who is at fault? The topic led to a legal matter, one that has yet to be completely resolved, but it does conjure up a colorful image: a judge in a courtroom with car makers at one table, car owners at the other, and the audience packed with rats with a, “Who, me?” look on their faces. 

A suit was filed against Toyota blamed the auto maker for using wires made with soy-based materials that rodents like to chew on. The plaintiffs claimed that the car maker's choice of materials had created a "defect," while the Toyota countered that it was all about rats being rats, and rats have always like to chew wires.  

In 2018, District Court Judge Andrew Guilford dismissed the case because Toyota’s warranty doesn’t specifically cover wiring damage from rodents. He dismissed claims pressed in 13 states. The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In August 2020, it found that Guilford misidentified the rats as the problem, when the class action alleged that it was the soybean-based wired coating.

In May 2021, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled that the court was bound by the Ninth Circuit’s previous findings in the case, which ruled that expressed warranty claims could progress, but California Unfair Competition Law claims remained dismissed. The case continues. From various media reports, it seemed unlikely that the class action lawsuit filed by 21 people car owners would see them recoup their losses even if they prevail.

Throughout the proceedings, the rats have had no comment.

 

Read 717 times Last modified on November 5, 2021