Takata air bag cases added to multidistrict suit

People in Pennsylvania may be aware of lawsuits, injuries and deaths involving defective Takata air bags. There are a number of product liability lawsuits involving the bags pending in the Southern District of Florida.

There were also four cases in the Central District of California. The four people who brought the cases had hoped they would be tried individually, but a panel found that they were similar enough to be transferred to Florida. The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has a rule that allows cases to be transferred if they are similar to other nationwide cases. It is usually an effort to move these cases more quickly through the court system and is often used in cases of air disaster or product liability. The cases were filed against Toyota, but the transfer essentially removes Toyota from the settlement and places the focus on Takata.

The plaintiffs argued against the transfer. They said their complaints were not about the air bags but about how Toyota handled the recall. They also said there would be inconvenient jurisdictional issues, but the court ruled that the convenience of witnesses and parties also mattered.

The air bag recall was an enormous one and involved the recall of over 1.6 million Toyota vehicles. In all, 19 car manufacturers were affected.

People who feel that their rights have been violated by a company may want to consult an attorney about consumer protection laws. In this particular case, the plaintiffs might have resisted the move because they felt their cases were more about consumer protection than product liability. A person may look into this kind of lawsuit after dealing with a company that engaged in deceptive business practices.

Source: Daily Business Review, "Four California Suits Join Multidistrict Litigation in Florida Against Toyota," Raychel Lean, 8/13/2018

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