WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Two lawsuits filed against Japanese
company Takata Corporation, its subsidiary TK Holdings Inc., and
General Motors LLC were voluntarily dismissed on Jan. 25.
According to a report
by the Winston-Salem Journal, the lawsuits claimed that the companies
manufactured and produced defective airbags that exploded without
impact or collision, causing injuries and fatalities.
The suits were filed in October 2016 in separate North Carolina
districts — one in Forsyth Superior Court and another in Guilford
Superior Court. Parks Chevrolet of Kernersville, North Carolina, was
also named as a defendant in the Guilford suit. Attorneys Willie Gary
of the Stuart, Florida firm Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson and Gary,
PLLC, and Miguel A. Cuadra of Winston-Salem filed the suits on behalf
of claimants David Ebron of Forsyth and Valissa Dillard of Guilford.
The dismissals were a result of two circumstances involving Takata
taking responsibility for the issue. In February, Takata pleaded
guilty to allegedly hiding the defects in the airbags in a criminal
proceeding. The company also has agreed
to pay $850 million to automakers who used their airbags, $125
million those victimized by the defect including family members, and
an additional $25 million in fines.
Ebron’s suit claims that he was driving his Chevrolet Silverado
one morning in December 2014 when the airbag exploded without cause.
The bag’s expulsion hit Ebron in the face, rendering him
unconscious while his foot was still on the accelerator. Ebron
crashed into a tree and sustained brain damage, broken bones, and a
ruptured right eye.
In Dillard’s case, the airbag allegedly exploded on impact
during a crash in July 2016 in Greensboro, and caused the driver to
suffer a brain injury, loss of her right eye and several facial
The suits allege that Takata and General Motors knew the airbags
were defective up to 10 years before the accidents and that there
were 13 incidents of drivers being killed or injured by faulty
airbags between 2009 and 2014.
Both Ebron and Dillard are in settlement
talks with the companies. The attorneys had been seeking $1
billion in punitive damages and $250 million in compensatory damages.