Honda, Takata sued over fatal Malaysia crash

Keith Laing
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp. are facing a wrongful death lawsuit over a deadly crash in Malaysia that the victim’s family is blaming on a defective air bag inflator used in a 2006 Honda City Car.

Dr. Abdullah Shamshir Bin Abdul Mokti filed the wrongful death suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit on behalf of his wife, Dr. Nida Fatin Binti Mat Asis. She died at age 29 after being involved in a car crash on April 16, 2016, in Malaysia’s Sabah state.

The lawsuit alleges that a “defective metal airbag inflator, manufactured by Takata and subsequently installed by Honda, internally ruptured ... into the passenger compartment of a 2006 Honda City Car.”

“At the time of the Incident, Dr. Nida was unimpaired, she was properly wearing her seatbelt, and she was driving the Subject Vehicle within the posted speed limits,” the lawsuit says. “As a result of the Incident, the Subject Vehicle’s frontal driver airbag inflator exploded internally with excessive force, which caused the metal inflator canister to rupture and expel sharp metal and plastic shrapnel towards Dr. Nida.”

Shamshir is seeking damages for “past and future medical expenses and charges; past and future physical paint and mental anguish; past and future physical impairment; past and future disfigurement; and past lost wages and future lost wage-earning capacity.”

Attorneys for Shamshir said the lawsuit is being filed in Michigan because the estate for Nida is filed in Oakland County. Honda and Takata did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit.

Flying shrapnel from exploding Takata air bag inflators have led to a recall of nearly 70 million inflators. The faulty air bag inflators have been linked to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States.

The recall of nearly 70 million Takata air bag inflators is being conducted in phases that target the must vulnerable cars that are located in humid climates. Michigan is among the lowest-priority states in the recall.

It is the largest automotive callback in U.S. history. Approximately 46 million Takata air bags in 29 million cars already are subject to recall, with another 20 million to 25 million additional air bags set to be recalled with the next couple of years. Takata has been ordered to recall all of the faulty air bags by the end of 2019.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the recall of defective air bag inflators made by Takata will encompass 34 vehicle brands and about 42 million cars in the U.S when it is completed. The agency says more than 14 million Takata air bags have been repaired as of March 3.

Twitter: @Keith_Laing