Takata Settles Airbags Lawsuit With Florida Driver’s Estate

Updated on
  • Agreement announced in court after meeting with judge
  • Settlement avoids deposition of CEO Takada in Florida case

Takata Corp. agreed to settle a lawsuit in Florida with the estate of a driver of a Honda Civic who claimed to have been left a quadriplegic because of a dangerous airbag in the vehicle. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.

Takata has been sued by drivers and passengers claiming its air bags caused shrapnel injuries. Others, including Patricia Mincey, the Honda Civic driver, contend the “dangerous’’ nature of the propellant in the bags can cause excessive-force deployments, often in low-speed collisions. Takata has settled most of the shrapnel cases but had contested the excessive force claims, according to court records reviewed by Bloomberg.

Lawyers met in chambers for about half an hour with Florida Circuit Judge James Daniel in Jacksonville on Friday before emerging to say the case had been resolved. A trial had been scheduled to start next month.

“The family is happy that they can move on,” Ted Leopold, the lead lawyer for Mincey’s family, told reporters. Mincey died in April.

Stephen Krigbaum and Eric Eisnaugle, lawyers representing Takata, breezed by reporters saying only “it’s a beautiful day.”

The resolution means Takata Chief Executive Officer Shigehisa Takada won’t have to answer lawyers’ questions under oath in a deposition.

Leopold, who had been pressing to question Takada, said that doesn’t mean he won’t be deposed in other cases.

Settlement negotiations began in the past couple of days and Leopold said he wasn’t expecting an agreement on Friday morning, but he wasn’t surprised.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “Nothing surprises me.”

Honda, which also had been sued, reached a confidential settlement earlier.

The case is Mincey v. American Honda Motor Co., 15CA000377 Div CV-E, Circuit Court, Duval County, Florida (Jacksonville).

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