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Another Toyota Headache: Allegations of Prius Headlight Failures

Posted Jul 28, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge in Los Angeles has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that claims headlights on late-model Priuses sporadically turn off and on.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real found the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged an unreasonable safety risk, the National Law Journal reports.

The suit was brought on behalf of customers who bought an optional high-intensity discharge headlight system, known as HID headlights. "These intermittent headlight failures are repeated and unpredictable,” the complaint alleges.

Toyota lawyers had argued most of the problems occurred after expiration of the one-year warranty, the NLJ story says. "Although not expressly alleged, plaintiffs apparently believe that their HID headlights should operate for some undisclosed period of time beyond Toyota's express warranty covering plaintiffs' Prius vehicles," they wrote in a dismissal motion.

While a headlight failure poses a potential safety risk, it “does not present an unreasonably dangerous condition because headlight failure is a known and inevitable risk,” the motion said.

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