A federal judge has approved a settlement worth hundreds of millions of dollars between the Ford Motor Co. and claimants to a class-action lawsuit over one of the largest auto recalls in history.
Judge Federico Moreno of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida approved the $299.1 million settlement between Ford and class members who had been affected by the international automaker’s recall of vehicles with defective air bags. The devices in question were manufactured by Takata Corp., a Japanese company that provided air bags to Ford as well as Toyota, Honda and several major car companies.
The agreement compensates customers for any losses and incurred expenses tied to Ford’s recall of vehicles containing Takata-produced air bags, which have been documented as causing severe injuries, and in some cases, death.
The judge also approved the class counsel’s motion for attorney fees ”totaling $74,775,000, or 25 percent of the $299,100,000 common fund,” according to the filing.
Read the order:
“We are pleased that the Ford settlement in the Takata MDL has been approved,” said Podhurst Orseck partner Peter Prieto. Prieto, who served as the plaintiff’s lead counsel. Orseck said the settlement will save lives “by accelerating the removal of dangerous air bag inflators, while also compensating consumers for their economic losses.”
“We will continue to vigorously prosecute the cases against the remaining automakers to ensure that our class members receive the recovery they deserve,” he added.”
Commenting on the dispute over attorney fees, Prieto said the fees were “entirely consistent with the law in the 11th Circuit” as were all prior fee awards in the multidistrict litigation over Takata’s air bags. “In fact, when the entire value of the Ford settlement is considered, the fees are well below the benchmark of 25 percent established by the 11th Circuit,” he said.
The South Florida-based attorneys for Ford and Takata, Stephen J. Krigbaum and Brian Dominguez respectively, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.