The proposed class action detailed on this page—part of years-old multidistrict litigation centered on defective Takata airbags—was stayed on June 28, 2020 and accordingly ordered closed.
United States District Judge Federico A. Moreno’s two-page order staying the suit and closing the case for statistical purposes can be found here.
When a lawsuit is stayed, it means the litigation has been halted by the court either temporarily or indefinitely. A court has the discretion to subsequently lift a stay based on events that may take place after the stay is ordered.
ClassAction.org will update this page with any new developments.
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG are the defendants in a proposed class action in which the plaintiff claims the companies sold vehicles containing defective Takata airbags the automakers “knowingly misrepresented as safe, when in fact they could explode and maim or kill drivers and passengers.”
The common defect shared by all Takata airbags is their use of ammonium nitrate—a notoriously volatile and unstable chemical, the case says—as a propellant to produce the gas released to inflate the airbags. According to the complaint, the ammonium nitrate in Takata airbag inflators can transform and destabilize, causing “irregular and dangerous behavior ranging from inertness to violent combustion.”
Instead of performing as a safety device, the airbags often violently explode, the case continues, and sometimes expel metal shrapnel into a car’s driver and passenger compartment. The suit points out that as of July 2017, Takata airbags have been linked to at least 12 deaths and 180 serious injuries in the United States alone.
According to the lawsuit, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler were “intimately involved” in the design and testing of Takata’s defective airbags. The plaintiff charges that when the defendants gave the OK to use the airbags in their vehicles, they “were or should have been aware” the inflators’ ammonium nitrate propellant was dangerous and unstable. Further, the defendants should also have known or been aware of the Takata airbag issues experienced in other vehicles, including Honda and BMW models, the suit argues. Worse still, the defendants reportedly failed to act when Honda enacted a massive recall of vehicles containing the defective airbags.
“Yet despite the repeated Takata/Honda recalls, [the defendants] utterly failed to take reasonable, let alone sufficient, measures to investigate or protect their purchasers and lessees, or the public,” the lawsuit says. “Indeed, even as other [original equipment automakers] began taking proactive remedial measures (however belated and ineffective), [the defendants] remained silent and on the sidelines.”
It wasn’t until December 2017 and January 2018, the lawsuit claims, that Mercedes acknowledged to consumers that “the availability of replacement parts is taking longer than anticipated.” According to the plaintiff, the defendants have left consumers in a precarious situation: either continue to drive essentially dangerous vehicles for months or years while they wait for Mercedes replacement parts to arrive, or be left without transportation.