Takata Bankruptcy Will Mean Less Money for Airbag Victims

Filing expected by the end of this month
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2017 12:47 AM CDT
The logo of Takata Corp. at an auto supply shop in Tokyo.   (Shizuo Kambayashi)
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(Newser) – An expected bankruptcy filing by Japanese airbag maker Takata will leave little money for dozens of people who sued the company over deaths and injuries caused by its exploding airbag inflators, according to outside legal experts and lawyers suing the company. Takata Corp. and its US operations are likely to seek bankruptcy protection by the end of June in a deal that would sell its assets to competitor Key Safety Systems Inc., a person briefed on the talks tells the AP. The price Key will pay is unknown, but much of it likely will go toward paying a $1 billion US criminal settlement. Most of the settlement money will go to automakers as restitution for recall costs.

Key is expected to buy Takata's assets "free and clear" of past liabilities. So far, the faulty inflators have killed 11 people in the US and 16 worldwide. Over 180 people have been injured. The problem touched off the biggest recall in US automotive history, involving 19 automakers and 42 million vehicles. Lawyers say some victims have serious facial injuries from metal shrapnel and would win large verdicts if Takata were financially strong. "Takata intends to try to use our bankruptcy laws to escape responsibility for the injured and the families of the dead," said Bradford Child, a Los Angeles lawyer who represents the family of a woman killed by a ruptured inflator. (Read more Takata stories.)

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