A Georgia man has filed a class-action lawsuit against Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp. and several automakers over the installation of faulty air bags in millions of vehicles in the United States.
In the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Nov. 21, Marc Seals claims Takata has known about the safety problem with its air bags since 2001 – years before it filed paperwork with federal regulators – and that since that time, four deaths and 139 injuries have been linked to the product.
The suit also names Takata's American subsidiaries, TK Holdings Inc. and Highland Industries Inc., as defendants, as well as Honda, BMW, Ford and Toyota.
Athough there is currently a recall of approximately 7.8 million vehicles made between 2002 and 2008 by 10 automakers to replace the driver’s side and passenger’s side air bags, Seals' suit alleges that the automakers have not properly remedied the situation. With not enough replacement air bags available to satisfy the recalls, service centers have allegedly disengaged recalled air bags, a policy endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to court documents, Seals attempted to comply with the recall on his 2001 BMW 330CI on Oct. 27, but replacement air bags were not in stock. Rather than being offered a replacement vehicle, the plaintiff claims he was left to drive an unsafe vehicle or no vehicle at all.
The suit is seeking damages that include recouping the decrease in value of affected vehicles and requests a defendant-funded program for class members to recover out-of-pocket costs – including time off work, rental car or other alternate transportation costs, and child care – incurred while attempting to complete the recall process.
Attorneys Herron Ortiz and Corey D. Holzer filed the case on behalf of Seals.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida case number 1:14-cv-24449-DPG.