Product Liability

Nissan Seeks Repayment for Defective Airbag Costs from Takata

Nissan pathfinder Nissan North America image Nissan Seeks Repayment for Defective Airbag Costs from TakataNissan Motor Co. wants Takata Corporation to cover the amount the car manufacturer is ordered to pay in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the auto supplier’s defective airbags, which can explode with lethal force.

The Japanese automaker asked a Southern District of Florida federal judge to order the troubled airbag manufacturer to reimburse it for any damages stemming from the airbag crisis that it is ordered to pay.

“The cross-claim says that Nissan bought Takata’s air bag inflators under a contract that requires Takata to indemnify Nissan from any liability and expenses incurred due to product defects and that Nissan wouldn’t have purchased the inflators if Takata hadn’t concealed its fraud,” Law360 reports, adding that Nissan is being hit with recall costs, lawyer fees, and other expenses because of the faulty airbags.

Both of the Japanese companies are defendants in the multidistrict litigation. Nissan and several other major automakers became part of Takata’s airbag fray since installing the faulty airbags in certain Nissan and Infiniti vehicles.

Takata’s airbag problems stem from the inflator mechanism, which uses ammonium nitrate as a propellant. This highly volatile but inexpensive chemical compound can be compromised by humidity, making it hypersensitive and prone to deploy with lethal force.

Exploding Takata airbags have been blamed for the deaths of at least 11 people in the U.S. and at least five additional people outside the U.S. The airbags have also injured nearly 200 people.

Nissan has already settled a number of personal-injury complaints in connection with Takata airbags. One of those complaints, however, is still pending in the MDL, Law 360 notes.

The automaker argues that Takata should bear those costs because its contracts with the airbag supplier require Takata to cover any liability, costs, or expenses Nissan might face due to product defects.

Last month, Takata plead guilty to a charge of wire fraud and agreed to pay $1 billion in criminal penalties and restitution stemming from its misconduct in selling defective airbags, including using false reports and making misrepresentations to Nissan and other automakers to purchase the faulty airbags.

According to Law360, “As part of that scheme, Takata supplied Nissan with inflators that it knew didn’t meet specifications, didn’t pass tests and posed a safety risk, but concealed that information. Nissan wouldn’t have bought the air bag systems if it knew the truth, and as a result of Takata’s fraud, it has been harmed, the automaker said.”

Sources:
Law360
The Detroit News