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Canadian class actions against Takata over airbags to expand

AFP-JIJI

A Canadian law firm said Thursday it planned to expand its class actions against embattled Japanese auto parts giant Takata and car manufacturers over defective air bags.

The plaintiffs are seeking more than 3 billion Canadian dollars (¥297 billion) from Takata and auto manufacturers Chrysler, Honda, Nissan and Toyota for the loss of value of their vehicles caused by the recall, according to Sutts, Strosberg LLP.

The original suit estimated the number of cars recalled in Canada at 1.8 million. That number is now expected to rise after Takata agreed to double a U.S. recall to a record nearly 34 million vehicles earlier this week.

Once revised Canadian figures are released, Sutts, Strosberg LLP will amend its lawsuit to reflect the increased number of cars affected by the recall, a spokesman for the firm said.

The defect — thought to be linked to a chemical propellant that helps inflate the air bags — can cause them to deploy with explosive force, sending metal shrapnel hurtling toward drivers and passengers.

John McIntosh, who is represented by Sutts, Strosberg, told a news conference that he rarely drives his 2003 Toyota Corolla because he fears the airbag is faulty.

Another Canadian class action against Takata announced in March by Merchant Law Group LLP is seeking CA$2.4 billion for personal injuries, car repairs and an expected loss in value of their vehicles included in a massive global safety recall.

Two other Canadian law firms have also launched suits.

If they are certified by a judge, they would likely be lumped into a single class action lawsuit in the coming months.