SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hagens Berman, a national class-action law firm, has filed a second class-action suit against Japanese parts supplier Takata Corporation and automaker Honda Motor Co., stating that Takata embarked on a concealment campaign, designed to cover-up evidence of airbag defects. The suit relates to the companies’ recent rash of recalls due to faulty airbag inflators installed in millions of vehicles in the United States.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Nov. 7, 2014, claims that Takata withheld knowledge of the airbag defects from federal regulators and ordered its technicians to destroy data evidencing any housing defects, including video and computer backups.
“Despite claiming this incident was ‘an anomaly,’ Takata subjected its airbag systems to secret testing that revealed the opposite. They learned of the airbag defect that could prove fatal to drivers,” said Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman. “Although they knew this information, Takata then chose to embark in a cover-up campaign, withholding their discovery from federal regulators.”
Instead of safely deploying airbags to protect vehicle occupants, the defective Takata inflators, installed in millions of Honda vehicles, explode, sending metal and plastic shrapnel into the vehicle cabin, according to the complaint. The defective Takata inflators have caused multiple injuries and fatalities.
“In 2004, Takata and Honda were made aware of a dangerous propensity for airbag inflator explosion in vehicles equipped with Takata airbags – a driver in Alabama was severely injured from metal shrapnel during an accident,” Berman said. “When the two companies were faced with making a decision, they instead decided the issue was ‘an anomaly’ and ignored it, endangering the lives of vehicle owners across the country.”
The suit seeks to represent anyone in the United States who purchased or leased a Honda vehicle with a defective Takata airbag and that has been subject to an airbag-related warning or recall. Concerned consumers can visit the firm’s website for a list of affected Honda vehicles and may contact the firm regarding the suit at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-623-7292.
The complaint has eight named plaintiffs from California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.
The suit accuses Takata of manufacturing cheap airbags that “blew up like hand-grenades, sending lethal metal and plastic shrapnel into the vehicle cockpit and into the bodies of the drivers and passengers.”
Hagens Berman’s Steve Berman was recently named co-lead counsel in the high-profile class-action lawsuit against General Motors, covering claims over faulty ignition switches and loss of vehicle value. The firm also secured a $1.6 billion settlement in litigation against Toyota Motor Corp for owners of vehicles that were potentially prone to unintended acceleration.
More information about the investigation can be found at www.hbsslaw.com/takata.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List seven times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.