Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho announced Wednesday that Guam will receive $100,000 from the multi-state settlement with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (collectively “Honda”), the largest settlement Guam has received as a result of a consumer protection case in recent history.
“We will take action against companies who put profit above the safety of consumers,” said Attorney General Camacho. “This settlement – the largest local consumer protection settlement in recent history – shows that our office’s active involvement in multistate investigations and litigation ultimately benefit Guam consumers.”
The settlement arose over allegations that Honda hid safety issues related to defects in the frontal airbag systems installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States. Long-time Honda supplier, Takata Corporation, designed and manufactured the systems and were first installed in the 2001 model year. The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into Honda’s alleged failure to inform regulators and consumers that the frontal airbags posed a significant risk of rupture, which could cause metal fragments to fly into the passenger compartments of many Honda and Acura vehicles. The ruptures have resulted in at least 14 deaths and over 200 injuries in the United States alone.
Under the terms of the consent judgment filed with the Superior Court of Guam, Honda has agreed to strong injunctive relief, which includes requiring it:
• To pay participating Attorneys General representing 48 states and territories $85,151,210.15. Guam’s share of the settlement will be used to fund the OAG’s ongoing consumer protection work.
• To take steps to ensure that future airbag designs include “fail-safe” features to protect passengers in the event the inflator ruptures.
• To adopt changes to its procurement process for new frontal airbags, to ensure that its suppliers have the appropriate industry certifications and satisfy key industry performance standards, as well as improve record-keeping and parts tracking.
• To implement recurrence prevention procedures designed to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again, such as requiring that Honda approve all new frontal airbag designs before the company will consider them for use in new Honda vehicles.
• To abide by prohibitions on misleading advertisements and point of sale representations regarding the safety of Honda’s vehicles, including the airbags.
• To make improvements in critical areas such as risk management, quality control, supplier oversight, training and certifications, and implementing mandatory whistleblower protections.
Deputy Attorney General of the Consumer Protection Division Fred Nishihira and his legal team handled the case. Read the filing here.
In addition to Guam, the multistate group – led by South Carolina, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, and Texas – includes Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Consumers who own a Honda or Acura vehicle are strongly encouraged to visit Honda’s airbag recall website at https://hondaairbaginfo.com, or call its Customer Service toll-free number at (888) 234-2138, to see if their vehicle is subject to a recall. Consumers may also check for open recalls by going to Safercar.gov. All safety recall repairs are FREE at authorized Honda dealers. Consumers can also contact the Consumer Protection Division via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 475-3324 with any questions about this settlement.
(News release from the Office of the Attorney General)