Recent Cases

Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited v Williams [2023] FCAFC 50 (27 March 2023) (MOSHINSKY, COLVIN AND STEWART JJ)


Catchwords:


CONSUMER LAW – representative proceedings – alleged defect in motor vehicle by reason of defective exhaust system – where primary judge found breach of guarantee of acceptable quality pursuant to s 54 Australian Consumer Law – consideration of proper construction of s 54 – where appellant claims statute requires regard to subjective circumstances of claimant – where appellant submits there is heterogeneity of group members – where s 54 references a reasonable consumer – appeal ground unsuccessful

CONSUMER LAW – where appellant contends defect only in a component system and not in vehicle – where appellant alleges error by the primary judge in finding defect in vehicle – where defect rendered vehicles to be of unacceptable quality – appeal grounds unsuccessful

DAMAGES – representative proceedings – where primary judge found reduction in value damages on an aggregate basis – where appellant submits primary judge’s construction of ss 271 and 272 was incorrect – where appellant submits primary judge erred by assessing reduction in value damages at time of supply rather than at later date when loss was alleged to crystallise – where appellant alleged this error resulted in failure take into account certain evidence and matters relevant to the assessment of damages – where fix available for defect by time of trial at no cost to vehicle owner – where experts agree that fix restores value to vehicle prospectively – consideration of proper conceptual approach to reduction in value damages – consideration of appropriate time to assess reduction in value damages – consideration of whether information available at a later date can be taken into account – consideration of proper approach to assessment of reduction in value damages where a defect may be able to be remedied – matter remitted for re-assessment of reduction in value damages under ss 271(1) and 272(1)(a) and damages for excess GST under ss 271(1) and 272(1)(b) in accordance with reasoning of Court

DAMAGES – representative proceedings – where appellant submits primary judge erred in use of expert evidence as to willingness to pay to assess the reduction in value damages – where appellant submits expert evidence as to resale market price for vehicles with defect flawed – where appellant submits expert evidence provided an insufficient foundation to undertake a common sense assessment of the reduction in value of the goods – where alleged insufficiency of foundation for primary judge’s common sense assessment – where appellant contends in alternative that damages should be assessed taking account of resale information and cost of fix – some grounds upheld – revised common sense assessment undertaken by Court subject to further adjustment on remitter