U.S. Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.
U.S. Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

A manufacturer of inflatable airbags is being sued in Los Angeles for a second time in as many weeks for allegedly covering up test results showing the safety devices deployed with too much force, according to court papers obtained Monday.

The proposed class-action complaint, filed Friday in Los Angeles federal court on behalf of eight plaintiffs, contends that Tokyo-based Takata Corp. discovered flaws in its airbags during tests about a decade ago and then destroyed the resulting records.

Testing “revealed that the steel canisters used to house the airbag’s rapid inflation system contained cracks that compromised its structural integrity,” according to the complaint. “Upon learning that information, Takata ordered its technicians to destroy all evidence of the test results, including video footage and computer backup files.”

A representative of Takata did not immediately respond to a request for comment after regular business hours.

Torrance-based American Honda Motor Co. and Takata were sued by the same law firm two weeks ago on behalf of Southland car owners over allegedly faulty airbags.

The proposed class-action lawsuit contends that instead of safely deploying airbags to protect occupants, Honda installed parts that can deploy with too much force, sending metal and plastic shrapnel into the car. Defective Takata Corp. inflators have caused multiple injuries and fatalities, according to the suit.

Honda has recalled 6 million vehicles globally since 2008 because of the Takata airbag flaw, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that Takata may have cut corners to build cheaper airbags, and that Honda may have bought its airbags from Takata to reduce manufacturing costs.

The result, according to the lawsuit, is that instead of saving lives, defective Takata airbags in Honda autos are injuring drivers and passengers involved in otherwise minor and survivable accidents.

The suit seeks to represent anyone in the Southland and elsewhere who purchased or leased a Honda vehicle with a defective Takata airbag that has been subject to an airbag-related warning or recall.

City News Service

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