The proposed Takata class action lawsuit provides for a large-scale compensation of all future out-of- pocket costs incurred by Honda Canada consumers. The proposed settlement also establishes ongoing legal activities by Honda Canada in response to recall efforts by U.S. regulators. Further, the proposed Takata class action lawsuit will mark the first time that an automotive company has directly admitted liability and openly agreed to undertake and carry out an extensive recall process. The decision marks a significant milestone in efforts to strengthen the U.S. auto safety regulations and ensure that all car manufacturers and dealers take proactive steps to limit the exposure of their products to injuries, illnesses and deaths associated with their manufacture.
Honda Class Action Lawsuit
In the Takata class action lawsuit, plaintiffs seek cash damages for injuries, illnesses, and damages to their health and ability to work. They argue that Takata failed to notify the public about a defect in its manufacturing process that resulted in millions of potentially dangerous vehicles. The companies failed to warn consumers that their cars could be dangerous and did not notify them of the risk of using cars with infotainment systems. The infotainment systems included in some cars can be activated without ever having to press a button or pull down a dashboard. The devices, many of which are designed to turn on a car’s audio system when it is left unattended, can pose a serious and present a danger to children, teens, and older adults.
The class action lawsuit was filed in January of this year.
Following the lawsuit filing, Honda and Takata quickly formed a funds management company to coordinate and manage claims and settlements. Honda and Takata have also reached a financial settlement that will pay class members up to one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars if the complaint is approved. Although class members will receive substantial compensation, attorneys involved in the case advise that anyone who wishes to pursue a settlement would be better served to stop making further claims for loss until the companies can ensure that they have resolved all matters.
The Honda class action lawsuit argues that Takata failed to properly warn consumers of the “defects” in its manufacturing process.
Specifically, the complaint contends that Takata did not include instructions on how to properly change the valve stem for a “real” Honda engine and did not instruct owners on how to add oil to their “real” Honda engines (that is, they did not instruct the class action lawsuit plaintiffs to sell their cars for profit and then install the “real” Honda engines in order to recoup the money from Class Members). Furthermore, the judge said that Takata did not instruct the Honda engines to be put on boats. As a result, Honda engines are unfit for use in water vehicles, the judge added.
The complaint further contends that Takata did not properly warn the Honda Class Action lawsuit plaintiffs that the company would be releasing new models with “newer” engines by 2010.
In fact, Honda made a series of drastic changes to its lineup in the fall of 2008. Moreover, as I have previously reported, the new cars put out by Honda fly away based on Honda’s announcement that it would release new cars with fuel-efficiency improvements and other new features. Despite the announcement, however, Takata continued to ship vehicles with defective engines.
As described above, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas declined to grant class action lawsuit plaintiffs’ class-action lawsuit against Honda.
Because of this refusal, however, Honda could no longer file a class-action lawsuit against the automotive manufacturer. The plaintiffs would, however, be able to file a complaint against Takata, if it decides to try to fight the complaint against it, because Takata would be required to develop and manufacture cars meeting the requirements of the Clean Air Act. As a result, the lawsuit against Honda will proceed as planned, and the company will get one chance to prove it has not been dumping toxic toxins into the air without consequence.