Several grievances have been brought against numerous car manufacturers, as well as Takata Corp, regarding an abundance of defective air bags. These complaints have led to mass recalls. A judicial panel has now ruled that these cases will be heard soon in a Florida federal court.
Who shall preside over the cases? According to a ruling from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, U.S. District Judge Frederico Moreno from the Southern District of Florida is the man for the job.
Over 70 class action suits have been proposed and filed over the last few months by customers complaining that Takata air bags are both defective and dangerous. Among their complaints are that the air bags may explode brutally, spewing metal debris on passengers, and putting them at risk of injury or even death.
The main source of the issue seems to be that the air bags’ inflators are too forceful- a problem which has been linked to at least six deaths already. Despite the fact that automakers have recalled almost 25 million vehicles worldwide since 2008, the plaintiffs are not satisfied.
The plaintiffs are not only hoping to receive economic damages for lost resale value of their vehicles. At least 10 of them are also filing federal and state personal-injuring lawsuits for their troubles.
Some big name auto manufacturers have been named as defendants in the suits, including Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Toyota Motor Corp., BMW, Subaru Co Ltd, and Honda Motor Co. They’ve been accused of being aware about the hazards of Takata air bags for several years, but taking inadequate action to inform safety regulators and warn customers of the risks.
All sides of the debacle, including automakers, Takata, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers, seem to agree that consolidation among the cases would be necessary to coordinate pre-trial proceedings effectively.
Unfortunately, there has been disagreement on venue. While Takata and several of the automakers requested for Pittsburgh, most of the plaintiffs were in favor of Florida.
Takata, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, and Subaru have declined to comment, but Honda has stated that it respects the panel’s selection of Florida, and looks forward to the proceedings.