PITTSBURGH - A Japanese airbag manufacturer was sued on Feb. 5 over allegations that its airbags would explode, sending dangerous debris at passengers.
Janet McFarland filed the lawsuit against Takata Corporation alleging the company tried to cover up the problems with its airbags. It is one of dozens filed against the company in recent months, and the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation recently decided to consolidate some of the cases in Miami federal court.
The class action suit also names several well-known motor vehicle manufacturers, including Honda, Ford, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru.
The lawsuit alleged that approximately 16 million vehicles containing Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide due to the defects. The issues date back to April 2000. Takata found out about the defects “no later than 2001,” the lawsuit alleged.
The suit also alleged that when the airbags explode they spray the inside of the vehicle with metal shrapnel, which has maimed and even killed occupants.
The lawsuit further alleged corporate management told Takata engineers to “destroy the evidence” when the engineers found out the airbags were causing the injuries and deaths.
The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages plus court costs and repairs to all vehicles affected by the damaged airbags.
McFarland is represented by Gary F. Lynch and Edwin J. Kilpela Jr., of Carlson Lynch Sweet & Kilpela in Pittsburgh and Garrett D. Blanchfield and Brant D. Penney, of Reinhardt, Wendorf & Blanchfield in St. Paul, Minn.
United States District Court District of Western Pennsylvania case No. 2:15-cv-00153