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California woman sues over Toyota Prius brakes

February 09, 2010

A California woman has filed a lawsuit against Toyota alleging a 2010 Prius she purchased last year has severe braking problems which make it dangerous to drive, court papers show.

Elaine Miller is seeking unspecified damages on allegations of negligence and breach of warranty, according to the suit filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to official records.

Attorneys for Miller are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, saying it was filed on behalf of other 2010 Prius owners as well as purchasers of the 2010 Lexus HS250h hybrid.

Neither model is included in the group of nearly 2.3 million cars recalled by Toyota on January 21 to fix sticking accelerator pedals.

According to Miller's suit, the braking problem can prevent the driver from slowing down or stopping the car properly.

The woman alleged her Prius, the world's best-selling hybrid, has "repeatedly suffered the braking defect" since she bought it.

Since the 2010 Prius was introduced in May 2009, it has been the third most popular Toyota sold nationwide, and a large portion of the 103,000 bought in the United States were purchased in California, the suit states.

The suit is the latest filed against Toyota following the Japanese auto giant's spiraling recall problems.

On Friday two Los Angeles residents filed a motion in federal court here requesting that Toyota be compelled to expand recalls on cars to cover other makes and models which may be affected by sudden acceleration problems.

The motion also requested Toyota be ordered to provide an override system on all Toyota vehicles equipped with the Electronic Throttle Control System, which have experienced significant numbers of sudden acceleration events.

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