A $97.7 million preliminary settlement agreement was reached on August 8, 2017 between consumers and automaker, Nissan, in the Takata airbag multidistrict litigation. This latest proposed settlement brings the MDL one step closer to a complete resolution as Nissan is the fifth automaker to settle. In May 2017 defendants Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW agreed to a combined settlement fund of $553.6 million. The only remaining defendant automakers in the suit are Ford and Honda.
The suit was originally filed in 2014 after faulty Takata-manufactured airbags began to misfire and launch chemicals and shrapnel at drivers and passengers. Plaintiffs have argued that the misfiring airbags are a result of the inexpensive, yet volatile, ammonium nitrate that is used to inflate the bags. As a result of the faulty airbags, Takata has been forced to execute massive global recalls and filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 after agreeing to pay $1 billion in fines and restitution. Takata has admitted that it used false reports and intentionally misrepresented the product to automakers in an attempt to sell airbags.
This most recent settlement will cover around 4.4 million Nissan vehicles and can be applied toward plaintiffs’ towing fees, lost wages and even childcare payments. In addition to the above mentioned covered costs, Nissan has agreed to set up a free rental car program. There is still an open question as to whether plaintiffs will receive additional recoveries of up to $500 per class member. U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno is receiving the settlement and a final decision will be made soon.
The Case Is: In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, Case No.: 1:15-md-02599, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
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