Class-action suit says Toyota 4-Runners are dangerous

Frames on 2005-2011 Toyota 4-Runners and similar Toyota vehicles have inadequate rust corrosion protection, which makes them unsafe, Georgetown attorney J. Edward Bell III alleged in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of a Murrells Inlet man.

“Excessively corroded frames pose a serious safety hazard to a vehicle’s occupants because a vehicle’s frame forms the basis of a vehicle’s crashworthiness, including its ability to withstand or minimize damage to the occupant compartment in the event of an accident,” said the lawsuit. It also claims the Japanese-owned company has known of the defect but “continues to mislead consumers and fails to adequately remedy the problem.”

The lawsuit stems from the experiences of a Murrells Inlet man who bought a new 4-Runner in Spartanburg in 2005. The vehicle was serviced for years at Toyota dealerships. In 2017, a separate company pointed out excessive corrosion on the frame, but Toyota didn’t correct the problem, the lawsuit said.

In May 2018 when the man was driving his vehicle, the wheel began vibrating violently, which caused the man to lose control and veer off the road. He was not hurt, but learned from a garage that a front control arm broke away from the frame due to corrosion and rust, and that the vehicle was inoperable.

“Toyota knew about this problem and apparently, in an effort to evade or escape responsibility, the company tried to cover it up,” Bell said today in a statement. “This is a very serious safety concern and Toyota should not play with people’s lives this way. If mistakes happen, admit them, fix them and save lives.”

The lawsuit seeks certification as a class-action suit, actual damages, consequential damages and other relief.