We previously discussed how the implementation of bio-plastics in the automotive industry contributed to new claims that rodents have developed a penchant for wiring insulation . While rats gnawing on wires of cars isn’t a novel problem, some believe that the new materials used have exacerbated the issue.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against various manufacturers on the grounds that the soy-based compounds used in modern-day wiring is irresistible to rodents. One of the more recent legal bouts involves Toyota. Brian Kabateck, a Los Angeles attorney involved in a class-action lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales, filed on behalf of an Indiana resident after their Toyota Tundra become a meal for rodents three times. The total damage was estimated at roughly $1,500, which Kabateck said Toyota refused to cover.

The case, which involves multiple plaintiffs all represented by Kabateck, has been dismissed without leave to amend — meaning it cannot be refiled. Is this an unfair victory for Toyota and hoards of hungry rats, or are these wiring claims lacking the substantive elements required to be taken seriously? 

“Over the course of litigation, we’ve discovered the problem of rodents eating through soy-covered wiring is frequent and widespread, impacting tens of thousands of drivers nationwide,” Kabateck said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press . “Toyota apparently isn’t willing to fix this defect or compensate customers who have paid significant amounts of money to mechanics to repair damage caused by rats, squirrels and mice. People purchased these vehicles because they believed they were buying a reliable product, but Toyota refuses to acknowledge this problem even exists — or cover the damage under its warranty program.”

Based upon the number of online complaints, the issue does appear to have grown over the last decade for all manufacturers. However, whether that’s due to automakers swapping to bio-plastics or the fact that there are more people online willing to complain is unclear. Bio-plastics started becoming increasingly popular after the mid-2000s, which is roughly the same time the internet reached the majority of U.S. households.

Prior to the dismissal of the Toyota wiring case last month, a nearly identical lawsuit filed against Honda was dismissed by the plaintiffs in 2016. In fact, these types of suits have become increasingly common over the last few years. Plaintiff victories, however, have not.

One of the problems is that a lot of evidence surrounding rodents’ preference for the newer bio-plastics is anecdotal. For example, a woman owning a 2016 Volvo XC60 from San Diego claimed rats had repeatedly eaten through the wirin g despite her going to great lengths to deter them. But the vintage MR2 sitting next to it in the same driveway went untouched. While it’s a compelling story, a scientific study would probably prove more helpful in a court case. But, even then, would the judge find a manufacturer liable for what is basically an animal attack?

“We are gratified that, after repeated failures to allege facts that would support their defect claims, the Court dismissed plaintiffs’ meritless claims without leave to amend,” Toyota said.

a version of this article first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com