AG Balderas Sues Takata And 15 Automakers Over Airbags That Function As Fragmentation Grenades

Photos of airbags that function as fragmentation grenades. Courtesy/AG

STATE News:

  • To date, known Takata airbag IR incidents have injured more than 180 people and killed at least 11 in the United States alone

SANTA FE – Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that he filed a lawsuit this week against Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata and 15 automakers over dangerous and defective airbags that function as fragmentation grenades.

Hundreds of thousands of which were installed in cars sold or offered for sale in the State of New Mexico. The lawsuit was filed in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, and it names Takata, Honda, Ford, Toyota, BMW, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan, FCA, Volkswagen, Audi, Ferrari, General Motors, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Balderas alleges that the parties knew about, and misrepresented, the existence and extent of the defective airbags, and tried to conceal the defect until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Congress exposed the full extent of the defective airbags.

“In New Mexico, no child should ever be put in danger so international corporations can reap enormous profits,” Balderas said. “New Mexico families’ health and safety have been put at dangerous risk by Takata and the automakers, and we will hold them accountable. Corporations who harm New Mexicans will pay for their actions no matter their size or location around the world.”

Takata’s airbag systems are installed in millions of vehicles, including vehicles manufactured by the defendant automakers. Under New Mexico law, Takata had, and has, a duty to ensure that its airbag systems work safely and as intended, and must not make false, deceptive, or misleading statements or omissions regarding them to any person, including the public and its commercial partners.

Takata airbags are now subject to the largest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall in the history of that agency because they explode in situations in which they should not and do so at excessive pressures, leading to “inflator rupture” (IR) in which metal shrapnel from the airbag’s metal inflator assembly housing is sprayed into a car’s cockpit at high speed. To date, known Takata airbag IR incidents have injured over 180 people and killed at least 11 in the United States alone.

The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General is bringing the case against Takata and the automakers with help from Grant and Eisenhofer, a national law firm that was selected for its specialty in handling major consumer protection and automotive lawsuits, and class-action securities litigation.

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