Hawaii is the first state to sue a formal lawsuit against Takata and Honda accusing the two companies of trying to conceal the defects of the former company's airbags.
This marks the first ever state lawsuit amid the massive recall of vehicles with the defective Tataka airbags. The airbags are being blamed for the death of 13 people and hundreds of injuries all over the world. Hawaii said in their lawsuit that the Takata Corporation knowingly sold their potentially defective airbags and that they have covered up data showing the products were dangerous. Hawaii also alleged the company of delaying the recall, Auto Blog reported.
For the recall, 28.8 million vehicles with the Takata airbags have been recollected and it is estimated that 40 million more will be recalled. Takata just announced that they are recalling 14 million more of their airbags but they do not know yet which vehicles contain the potentially defective products.
Consumer Affairs reported that Hawaii is now seeking $10,000 for each of the affected vehicle in their state. It is reported that around 70,000 vehicles have the potentially defective airbags.
Stephen Levins, the Executive Director of the State Office of Consumer Protection, said in a statement that companies supplying and marketing goods to Hawaii's consumers are obligated to deliver products that are safe. These companies are also required to provide consumers with full and accurate information when they are known to be dangerous.
"Takata and Honda put their own profits and reputations ahead of honesty and their customers' safety. We intend to hold them accountable for their conduct," Levins added.
The lawsuit is the latest setback for Takata and the question of how much they need to pay remains to be in the air as the have announced that their costs regarding the recall are still unresolved, Reuters reported.
Takata spokesman Toyohiro Hishikawa said in a statement that the company is still waiting for a study regarding the root cause of the defective airbags. However, he did say that the company agrees with the with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's assessment that the defective airbags were due to the combination of time, environmental moisture and fluctuating high temperatures.
Takata is facing around $9 billion in recall costs.