Settlement Challenged in Takata Air Bag Case

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case against airbag manufacturer Takata Corp. are calling for a delay in the finalization of the $1 billion settlement in the suit.  Pope McGlamry attorney Thomas P. Willingham, working on behalf of plaintiff Shonda McCall, stated in his court filing that, “the proposed plea agreement is wrought with unnecessary factual assertions many of which are simply mischaracterized and/or not accurate. These unnecessary and inaccurate assertions of fact which are not true will then be used in other proceedings as a shield to civil liability for victims of exploding Takata airbags.”  The McCall case is pending in Clayton County Superior Court in Georgia.

The airbags manufactured by Takata suffered from numerous defects.  The airbags’ inflators relied on ammonium nitrate, an explosive chemical not typically used in airbags, which can degrade over time with exposure to ambient moisture.  According to court filings, the inflators themselves were “faulty, inferior, non-performing, non-compliant, or dangerous.”  The bags can also overinflate and send metal shards into both drivers and passengers.  These sometimes lethal problems—11 people have died in the U.S. alone—were hidden from the public by Takata and various vehicle manufacturers for over 15 years.

The settlement provides for $850 million to be paid to auto manufacturers who used the airbags, but attorneys argue that the manufacturers were just as complicit in concealing the hazards of Takata airbags.  They claim that manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota were fully aware of the risks, but chose the defective airbags because they were less expensive.  ”To describe any of the automakers, especially Honda, as victims is grossly unfair,” said Willingham.  In his filing, he also added that “[t]he inaccurate statements contained in the plea agreement will assuredly be utilized by the automobile manufacturers in an attempt to exonerate or defend themselves from responsibility for the conduct at issue.”

Pope McGlamry has been fighting for those injured or killed by negligently defective products for years.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to a flawed product, such as a Takata airbag, contact Pope McGlamry at 877-285-7656 for a free review of your case.

Thomas P. Willingham

Tom Willingham was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from the Cumberland School of Law with a J.D. in 1987. Throughout his career he has handled product liability cases that involved defects such as lack of vehicle stability, defective steering system components, defective seat-belt restraints, defective airbags, defective fuel tanks, defective roof structure components, defective brakes, defective door latch […] Full Bio