Montana residents should be interested to know that a slew of lawsuits from all over the country targeting the Takata Corp. and a number of car manufacturers regarding malfunctioning airbags will commence hearings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that ruled that the cases will move forward in Florida was tasked with considering the possibility of consolidating the myriad of lawsuits that have been filed regarding this issue in different courts all over the country. The panel agreed that the lawsuits can all be consolidated.

The lawsuits allege that the airbag manufactured by the Takata Corporation have an inherent defect that causes the airbags to trigger and misfire. The exploding airbags have been known to spray shards of metallic debris that can lacerate and, in some cases, kill any passengers that happen to be in their path.

Over 70 class action suits have been filed relatively recently and some of them, but not all, also list automakers such as BMW, Subaru, Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Corp. as defendants, in addition to the Takata Corp.

The lawsuits allege that both the Takata Corp and the automakers were well aware that the airbags were defective and willfully chose not to the address the problem by issuing recalls or even informing their customers about the issue until the problem was exposed and could no longer be hidden. The problem is so pervasive that it has resulted to the recall of about 25 million cars worldwide since 2008. In the U.S., the defective airbags also have been linked to at least six deaths.

Source: Automotive News, “Takata, automakers to face airbag product-liability cases in Florida court,” Feb. 6, 2015