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November 24, 2014

S.C. Takata Lawsuit: Motley Rice files first federal action against Takata in South Carolina

On Nov. 21, 2014, Motley Rice LLC, one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ firms, filed a products liability action alleging the wrongful death of a South Carolina woman related to the Takata airbag. The action is believed to be the first federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina related to the recalls.

On Feb. 15, 2008, Mary Lyon Wolfe, a Charleston, S.C. resident, was involved in a single-car accident in Orangeburg, S.C., while driving a 2002 Honda Accord that contained a now-recalled Takata airbag. She suffered deadly injuries in the crash and passed away on March 3, 2008, allegedly as a result of delayed deployment and/or excessive and unnecessary forces from the airbag system that caused the airbag to deploy with explosive and harmful force. At a Nov. 20, 2014, Senate hearing, Takata executives admitted that the company still uses ammonium nitrate as a propellant in its airbag inflators.

“As we stated in the complaint, a company that manufactures and sells airbags in automobiles must take all necessary steps to ensure that its products—which can literally mean the difference between life and death in an accident—function as promised and intended,” said Kevin Dean, Motley Rice catastrophic personal injury attorney. “In the case of Ms. Wolfe, we believe that the Takata airbag in her Honda Accord ultimately caused her death. We allege that the defendants involved participated in a deadly cover-up that is just now coming to light, much too late, unfortunately, for people like Mrs. Wolfe.”

It wasn’t until November 2012 that Mrs. Wolfe’s family received a letter from Honda notifying them that her 2002 Honda Accord was subject to a safety recall for the Takata airbag.

The suit includes claims of general negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct and breach of warranty against the defendants Takata Corporation; TK Holdings, Inc.; Takata, Inc.; Highland Industries, Inc.; Honda Motor Co., Ltd.; Honda R & D Co. Ltd.; Honda of America Mfg. and American Honda Motor Co. regarding Takata’s airbags. The complaint also alleges that design and testing, and all the way through distribution and sale, resulted in a defective and unreasonably dangerous automobile and automobile airbag system that was unable to reasonably protect the driver in the case of an accident.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Orangeburg Division, the case is Lyon et al v Takata et al. Read the full complaint.

Motley Rice attorneys also recently filed a class action lawsuit in South Carolina, Horton et al v Takata et al., on Nov. 14, 2014, on behalf of people who own vehicles that contain the recalled Takata airbags. [Read more about this suit LINK] 

Learn more about Takata airbag lawsuits.