Automobile maker Nissan is being sued in federal court in Illinois over allegations that a defect in the vehicle disables the air bag in the passenger seat even if there is a person sitting in the seat. | Shutterstock

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - A major automobile manufacturer is facing a lawsuit over claims the passenger side air bag will be disabled even if a person is sitting in the seat.

Matthew Senci filed the lawsuit on June 19 in U.S. District Court in Illinois against Nissan North America, claiming the defect is present in a number of different vehicle models made by the company.

The lawsuit said some of the vehicles such as the Nissan Pathfinder, Altima and Leaf and several Infiniti models were recalled, but others that still had the defect were not recalled. Senci said Nissan knew about the defect in the occupant classification system in the vehicles as early as 2012 based on numerous complaints filed by owners of the vehicles.

“Nissan knew the OCS in these vehicles did not function properly and needed to be redesigned, reprogrammed and/or replaced,” the lawsuit said. “Instead of repairing all of the affected Nissan Vehicles, Nissan attempted to conduct a limited recall of less than 83,000 vehicles in February 2013.”

The lawsuit is seeking class status for those who purchased the vehicle models with the alleged defect. The suit is also seeking damages in excess of $5 million plus court costs.

Senci is represented by Thomas P. Rosenfeld and Kevin P. Green of Goldenberg Heller Antognoli & Rowland P.C. of Edwardsville, Ill., and Gregory M. Nespole, Stacey Kelly Breen and Patrick Moran of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP in New York City.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois case number 3:15-cv-00681.

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