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Expert Urges Judge to Press Honda Engineer to Testify in Takata Trial

July 21, 2017
A so-called “special master” in the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case about Takata airbags has urged a federal judge in Florida to compel the deposition of a Honda engineer who remarked that he knew “the truth” about the airbags’ allegedly defective inflators, which have been implicated in a number of deaths and injuries.

Legal expert Ryan K. Stumphauzer argued that Honda engineer Takeru Fukuda, a 25-year veteran of the company, should testify in order to get to the bottom of the Takata case. In 2013, Fukuda said that, if he revealed certain information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency would issue a “complete reversal” concerning Takata’s airbags, which had been installed in millions of cars by numerous automakers.

Plaintiffs in the MDL allege that Takata used the cheap but volatile compound ammonium nitrate in its airbag inflators, and that the substance made the devices prone to explosion.

Honda has stated that it is not obligated to compel Fukuda to testify, but that, if Fukuda does choose to do so, it will work with him to comply with any ruling. Fukuda is the last remaining witness to a 1999 test of Takata’s airbag inflators in which the device failed unexpectedly. Stumphauzer argues that the 1999 test is of great relevant to the ongoing Takata trial.

In the face of the unprecedentedly large recall, and the various lawsuits currently pending against it, Takata recently declared bankruptcy in the U.S. and in Japan.

If your health and safety have been jeopardized by a malfunctioning airbag, or any other defective automotive part, you may have a case. Contact today for a free consultation.

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