BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry today
announced a settlement with TK Holdings, Inc. – a subsidiary of Takata – over
allegations that they concealed safety issues related to vehicle airbag
The settlement concludes a multistate investigation by 45 state attorneys general who were looking into the company’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects associated with certain airbag inflators using phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate as a propellant. This faulty product has been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 people and hundreds of injuries.
“A malfunction of this magnitude poses a direct threat to the citizens I took an oath to protect,” said General Landry. “So as we did here, my office and I will continue to investigate companies that engage in unsafe and deceptive trade practices and do all we legally can to make our communities safer.”
Beginning in 2008, auto manufacturers issued a number of recalls of vehicles containing certain airbag inflators in response to reports of ruptures upon deployment of the airbag. Since then, more than 50 million airbags have been recalled and more are anticipated to be recalled in the future. And through this multistate investigation, it was determined that the company knew of the safety risk with the defective product due to testing failures. In fact, the company knew about ruptures going back to 2004, but efforts to recall these products were not done until November 2014.
Under the settlement agreement announced today – TK Holdings, Inc. and its successor, Reorganized TK Holdings, will reimburse the multistate for its investigative costs and for the entry of stipulated civil penalty in the amount of $650 million. Additionally, they must follow the below guidelines:
- Not advertise or otherwise represent the safety of its airbag systems or phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate in any way that is false, deceptive, or misleading;
- Not represent that its airbags are safe unless supported by competent and reliable scientific or engineering evidence;
- Not falsify or manipulate testing data, or provide any testing data that the companies know is inaccurate;
- Except as needed to fulfill its obligations under the various recalls, sell any airbag systems using PSAN as a propellant;
- Comply with state and federal law as well as the NHTSA Consent Order and Coordinated Remedy Order; and
- Continue to cooperate with auto manufacturers to ensure that replacement airbag inflators are made available as expeditiously as possible from all possible sources.
Joining Louisiana in this multistate settlement are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.