Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan (Quinn Emanuel) has announced it will be filing an open class action in Australia against car manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, and Mazda for their role in the defective Takata airbag scandal. Damian Scattini, a Partner at Quinn Emanuel, has been working on the claim with litigation funder Regency Funding (Regency) for over a year.
The class action will be filed in the Federal Court of Australia and will allege that the car manufacturers are in breach of a number of provisions under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
“It is quite frankly, outrageous and almost inconceivable that there are over one million cars on Australian roads that contain a ‘safety’ product that could, at any time, explode with lethal force. People who are driving these cars need to enforce their consumer rights before there are any more tragedies,” Mr Scattini said.
Regency Consultant Roland Tellis said, “Australian consumers need to know that these airbags degrade over time, so the longer they remain unrepaired on the market, the more incidents that will happen. As we’ve learned, some auto manufacturers are also replacing faulty airbags with equally faulty ones. If there are no safe replacements, the only way to remedy this for Australian consumers is to demand a refund.”
Mr Scattini said he encouraged regulators to use their full powers in order to keep consumers safe, and that this lawsuit is complementary to any action regulators may take. Regulators are investigating the death of a Sydney man this month, which involved a Honda CRV fitted with Takata-manufactured airbags, and may be the 18th death linked to faulty airbags made by the Japanese auto parts maker, and the first such death in Australia.
“Under Australian Consumer law, goods specifically need to be safe. It is hard to imagine something which is less safe. These airbags have killed at least 18 people and injured more than 180 worldwide.”
Brisbane based administrative assistant Tamika Moulton, 29, is the owner of a 2007 Toyota Yaris and a potential plaintiff. After taking her car back to the dealer and having the airbag replaced, Ms Moulton asked the company to confirm in writing that the replacement airbag did not suffer from the same defects as the original. The company has not responded.
“I am extremely concerned about this. The faulty airbags are alarming enough on their own, but to replace them with equally faulty ones is reprehensible. I need to know my car is safe to drive and what Toyota is going to do about it if it’s not,” Ms Moulton said.
Consumers who purchased a Toyota, Honda or Mazda or other car fitted with a Takata airbag may be entitled to participate in the class action. Please register your interest at: www.AirbagRecall.com.au