Takata settles Air Bag Lawsuit

On Friday, July 15, 2016, Air Bag RecallTakata settled an airbag lawsuit. It was filed by a woman who has since died. She claimed the air bag in her Honda Civic functioned improperly while she was driving the car. Takata settled the case shortly before the Florida state judge assigned it could have ordered Takada’s CEO to testify.

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Law 360 reported that the attorney representing the family of Patricia Mincey said the case reached settlement as the parties were preparing for trial next month. Details of the deal were not released.

The airbag lawsuit accused Takata and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. of hiding the airbag defect in Takata inflators. Ms. Mincey was made quadriplegic from a 2014 car accident in which a Takata airbag malfunctioned, according to her petition. She died from her injuries in April 2016.

Takata CEO avoids Deposition

Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada, a grandson of the Takata’s founder, could have been deposed in the lawsuit if it had continued.

The attorney noted that the Takata airbag lawsuit settlement did not include Honda.

Takata air bag inflators have been linked to as many as 14 deaths worldwide. The faulty airbags prompted the biggest recall in U.S. history in spring 2016.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) added 40 million additional airbags.

Multidistrict litigation over the air bag inflators has been set up in Florida. Takata admitted in November 2015 that it failed to report the defective air bags, despite its knowledge that they were prone to rupture and explode.

Takata settles Air Bag Lawsuit

Ms. Mincey’s petition alleged that the driver’s-side air bag in her 2001 Honda Civic failed to properly deploy during what she described as a “minor collision” in Jacksonville, Florida.

Then her air bag deployed too late, she charged in her complaint, and the inflator exploded because of “excessive pressurization.” The accident and explosion injured her spinal cord and led to her becoming quadriplegic, said her petition.

Ms. Mincey had filed her lawsuit in January 2016 against Duval Motors and Honda, Takata, and their subsidiaries. She said she was injured in a June 2014 car accident because her driver’s-side air bag in a 2001 Honda Civic didn’t deploy properly, and that the resulting injuries to her spine left her quadriplegic. Four days later, said her court filings, Honda recalled the air bag in her car.

Ms. Mincey had brought claims against Honda and Takata for negligence, strict liability, fraudulent concealment. Her lawsuit was remanded from federal court back to state court earlier in 2016. Honda had first succeeded in remanding the suit to federal court in July 2016, arguing that Honda and Takata are corporate citizens of other states, and that Duval Motors, the only  Florida defendant named, was fraudulently joined by the plaintiff’s petition.

In August 2015, however, the judge rejected that argument, finding Ms. Mincey’s allegations sufficient for state court jurisdiction.

The case is Patricia Mincey v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., case number 15-ca-000377, in the Circuit Court in the Fourth Judicial District In Duval County, Florida.

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