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Ten Automakers Sued Over Deadly Keyless Ignition Risks

Suit claims 13 deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

by on Aug.27, 2015

The Ford Flex is one of a growing number of vehicles to use keyless ignition systems.

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Los Angeles naming 10 of the world’s largest automakers as defendants in a suit alleging 13 deaths were caused by faulty keyless ignition systems.

The complaint claims that the systems allow motorists to walk away thinking the vehicles have been shut off but actually can continue running, producing deadly carbon monoxide gas. The suit alleges that the 10 automakers have known about the problem but hid it from consumers and continued to market the keyless ignition systems.

Turn on to TDB!

“The automakers had actual knowledge of the dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning consequences of vehicles with keyless fobs that lack an automatic shut-off,” the lawsuit stated.

The federal lawsuit names as defendants General Motors, Ford Motor Co. Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, Honda, BMW, Hyundai Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, as well as some of their subsidiary brands.

(Automakers adding new technologies motorists don’t want, new study suggests. Click Here for more.)

The federal suit is the latest in a series of legal actions related to automotive safety problems, in general, and ignition system defects, in particular.

GM has, notably, faced a raft of lawsuits related to an ignition switch defect the company admits having hidden for at least a decade. It could result in a vehicle inadvertently being shut off while driving, disabling the motor, power steering and airbag system. A victims’ compensation fund set up by the automaker recently completed its work, issuing payments in connection to more than 100 deaths caused by the problem.

Beyond the GM issue, problems with ignition systems have led to a number of recalls in recent years.

(Consumers are growing increasingly frustrated by the surge in safety recalls. Click Here for the story.)

Conventional key ignitions are becoming less and less common on modern vehicles.

The new lawsuit alleges at least 13 deaths were caused by keyless ignitions, and the plaintiffs noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 27 complaints about the problem.

Keyless ignition systems were introduced more than a decade ago and allow a driver to start a vehicle without actually inserting a key. Instead, the vehicle can sense when the appropriate key fob is in the driver’s possession. The problem, the lawsuit claims, is that motorists may then leave a vehicle thinking that it has been shut off while, instead, it continues to run. In a garage or other enclosed space, that can result in a build-up of colorless, odorless but deadly carbon monoxide gas.

The new lawsuit also lays out a claim that the defect results in the loss of value for vehicles equipped with the keyless systems. A lost-value claim resulted in a $1.6 billion settlement in 2013 involving Toyota vehicles allegedly suffering from unintended acceleration issues. GM has been facing several lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in similar claims for vehicles equipped with faulty ignition switches.

The new federal lawsuit also is demanding that automakers come up with an automatic shut-off system that would prevent vehicles from running once a motorist walks away from the vehicle.

Most of the defendant carmakers declined to comment on the new action, but Ford told the Reuters news service it takes safety “very seriously,” adding that its keyless ignition systems have been proven “safe and reliable.”

Vehicles with keyless ignition systems normally issue warnings – in some cases chimes, in others actual visual text warnings – advising a motorist to shut the vehicle off and take the key when exiting.

Most or all continue to run, however, if a driver does not actually press the start button or take other steps to shut the vehicle off. In some instances, notably with hybrids, it is possible that a motorist may think the vehicle is not running at the time they exit, but its engine can later fire back up, TheDetroitBureau.com has noted in various reviews.

(Millions more vehicles could be affected by an expanded Takata recall. Click Here to find out why.)

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31 Responses to “Ten Automakers Sued Over Deadly Keyless Ignition Risks”

  1. Some people should not be issued a driver’s license in the first place.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Rich, I hope I don’t fit that category. As I suggested in the last graf of the story, I have run into this problem myself. I once parked a hybrid when going to dinner with friends, sure I’d shut it off (four of us were in a heated conversation), and not hearing the engine, walked into the restaurant. When I returned it was merrily idling at the side of the road. It had gone into electric mode when I parked and that model did nothing noticeable to alert a driver if it was still running. I am glad to see most models now ding and chime and flash warnings as soon as the car door opens. But, particularly with hybrids, leaving the car running inadvertently is something even attentive drivers may do occasionally.
      Paul E.

      • Jorge says:

        That is PRECISELY why people should not be allowed to operate a motorized vehicle until they read the OWNER”S MANUAL cover-to-cover and can answer some very basic operational safety questions such as how do you know if the engine is shut off? What would you do if the throttle stuck part way open? How do you shift the trans in to neutral? Will the car stop if I push hard on the brake pedal even with a stuck open throttle? How do I shut off the ignition? Where is the parking brake and how does it function. How do I change a tire? Where do I stow a cup of hot coffee before driving down the road?

        Who’s responsibility is it to shut off the engine properly? Is it the car maker’s responsibility or the vehicle operators responsibility? Negligence and ignorance are NOT acceptable excuses for self-inflicted harm – except in the U.S. where paid liars will make you a millionaire if you dump hot coffee on your crotch. You can bet that unscrupulous siren chasers will try to rape car makers every chance they get.

        I’ll bet these cases aren’t even allowed in other countries unless the vehicle’s ignition system can’t be shut off due to a defect, in which case disconnecting the battery, calling the dealer, having the vehicle towed to the dealer, etc. would solve the problem.

        • therr says:

          Unfortunately, not everyone is tuned into how or why vehicles operate, only that they had better work when needed. It is actually very easy for one of those people to be even slightly distracted and not notice the modern engine still running when they get out of their vehicle. We need to have glass packs on all vehicles, strictly for safety reasons of course.

    • hybrid driver says:

      That is absolutely true. Why do autorities issue a driver’s license to someone who is not capable of driving is something unbelievable. Not everybody has the ability to drive, just like not everybody has the ability to play a musical instrument for example, or have the ability to solve complicated mathematical equations , abilities required to perform certain tasks or even jobs.If such ones would apply for a job in these fields they wold be set aside and deemed unfit for the job. Why then, do unable individuals qualify to sit behind the steering wheel of a vehicle and drive it?? Sad to say, the only answer I have found is GREED on the part of the governments. The fees they charge to issue the license, the tax they collect on the purchase of the vehicle, on the purchase of the repair parts and labor for the vehicle and on the very small but sooooo lucrative business of gasoline. Yes Greed is why we have inept drivers on our roads.

  2. Drew Winter says:

    I’d like to see autopsy reports. With modern emissions controls vehicles produce very, very little carbon monoxide. The only CO-related deaths I know of involved very old cars.

  3. Rod Cirew says:

    Cannot understand the rant by Jorge. Why does he think other countries are different? They aren’t.

    It’s pretty darn simple. With an actual key, when you remove it and put it in your pocket, the engine doesn’t restart. Problem solved.

    BMWs require two pushes of the start button to turn the car off completely. Acura has some other procedure. All bowing to man’s innate laziness that dragging a key out of one’s pocket is an arduous and complex procedure worthy of modification.

    Why carmakers adopted Microsoft’s lead in having the s

    • GT101 says:

      I agree the silliness of a push button start/stop system is simply an unnecessary marketing gimmick. That being said I know of no other country that allows these types of liability lawsuits because it’s obvious that the driver of the vehicle is responsible for the problem, not the auto maker. Why would any reasonable person blame an auto manufacturer for a driver failing to properly turn off the car’s engine? I thought that knowing how to start and stop a car engine was part of a basic driver’s licensing operator’s test. If you don’t know how to do this how did you get a driver’s license?

    • Jorge says:

      Rod – What you view as a “rant” are the actual driving skills required to obtain a driver’s license in Germany. In fact it takes approximately a year’s worth of schooling and actual driving at a cost of ~$3000 and passage of a number of tests including being able to drive a manual trans car, start/stop the car, perform a safe panic stop, change a tire, check the oil, inspect the wiper blades and lights, in addition to safe operation of the vehicle in all kinds of weather on all road surfaces at all posted road speeds. German nationals are actually very competent drivers or at least the ones from what use to be Western Germany before the reunification.

      And in regards to other countries not allowing these bogus liability cases into court, many if not most countries refuse to even allow these cases to make it to court. Last year some siren chaser in the UK or Germany filed a frivolous lawsuit and the court tossed it out and told the paid liar that if he filed another one that he would be sanctioned as he was wasting the courts time.

      I have had long discussions with friends and engineers in Germany and Austria over the U.S. judicial system and they just can not believe the insanity that is allowed in the U.S. The McD’s case would never have made it to court and they would have told Stella that she was responsible for her own injuries because she exercised totally irresponsible judgment by placing a hot liquid between her legs in a moving vehicle. Since their is no such thing as “too hot coffee” they’d have told Stella to drink ice coffee from now on if she was unable to comprehend that hot coffee is hot and thus it can burn you.

      BTW, survey upon survey has shown that the majority of U.S. drivers have never even opened their new vehicle Owner’s Manual and most are unable to even check the engine oil level or tire pressures yet these people are allowed to careen down the roadway with a lethal weapon in their hands…

  4. Paul, as Jorge points out, people should be familiar with the operation of their vehicle before putting the key in the ignition or pushing the start button, as in this case. As almost every modern vehicle is equipped with a tachometer, a quick glance at the tach (something that I’ve gotten used to doing given the myriad cars I drive each year) will let you know if the engine is running, even in a hybrid.

    Abdication of responsibility is no excuse. If you don’t know how to operate your car, wait for an autonomous one.

    • Jorge says:

      Abdication of responsibility can make you a millionaire in the U.S. See the 2015 Stella awards for proof. The paid liars have so corrupted the U.S. judicial system that it actually rewards irresponsible and in this bogus lawsuit above, deadly behavior to the tune of MILLIONS to those who make irresponsible and inappropriate decisions that injure or kill people.

      Naturally those who want to blame someone else do not want to hear the truth or accept responsibility for their improper actions. It’s the “American Way”…

    • bluffguy says:

      Not true, when in electric mode the gas engine in the hybrid is not running, thus 0 RPM. When the battery runs down, the gas engine is started. So it is not only possible, but likely for a driver to get out of a completely silent hybrid showing 0 RPM and yet have the combustion engine start itself and run.

      • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

        Folks,

        The strategy varies by manufacturer as to when the gas engine fires up in hybrids and plug-ins. But especially in conventional hybrids you will see a vehicle park and be silent, with no revs showing on the tach. Anywhere from seconds to minutes later the gas engine will automatically fire up.

        Paul E.

      • hybrid driver says:

        True a hybrid will show 0 rpm when the engine is off, BUT,… BUT it will show in the dash a very well light sign written in full letters “READY” . This means the ignition contact is ON. Obviously the driver does have to know how to read…. , I own a hybrid for over 6 years, that’s how mine Works…..

  5. Rod Cirew says:

    start button also being the stop button shows the fuzzy thinking of modern ergonomics, as in – there ain’t none.

    So I agree with the need for a standardized start/stop procedure. While they’re at it, making the gear selector standard should also be on the table. When a grown man with everyday computer skills has trouble figuring out how to start a car, and/or selecting a gear, then design silliness on foppish designer whims has overtaken common sense.

  6. Dave says:

    If you are not aware enough of what you are doing to push a button to shut the car’s engine off how will you be aware enough to turn the key off? People need to be responsible for their own actions, not looking to blame someone else for their own stupidity.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Interestingly, Dave, I just had dinner with a senior tech exec at one of the car companies being sued. He acknowledged they recognize this problem can occur — people not realizing the vehicle is running when they exit — and ARE working on a fix. If this had not happened to me in a Lexus GS hybrid I’d likely have written this off, as well. In fact, I have been in a number of vehicles, most often hybrids, that you simply may not realize are running when stopped. In my own case, I was distracted by conversation after parking. When we finally all started getting out I heard no engine, noticed the tach was at 0 revs and got out, only subsequently realizing it had gone into electrict stop/start mode. Should an owner take responsibility, yep. I goofed. But a vehicle shouldn’t make it easier than necessary in this situation.

      Paul A. Eisenstein
      Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

      PS: I have been in a couple models of late that have odd functionality when you hit the Start button to shutdown and may leave the car either running or at least in ACC mode without realizing.

      • Jorge says:

        Paul – By your own admission – twice, you were distracted because you were in a heated discussion. That unfortunately is NOT an acceptable excuse for NOT turning the vehicle off. You as the operator are responsible for proper and safe operation of the vehicle – NOT the car maker. Your belief that a whistle, bell or flashing like is mandatory to remind a driver that they are NOT properly paying sufficient attention to their driving or parking, is a feeble attempt to divert responsibility to someone other than yourself, the operator of the vehicle. As several other folks in this thread have confirmed – it is YOUR responsibility not the car maker’s, to insure proper, safe operation of the vehicle. Clearly you can’t believe that you were “attentive” operator at the time if you were in a heated discussion and didn’t properly shut the engine off?

        The unfortunate reality is that when driver’s abdicate their responsibilities to properly operate the vehicle, people die. This case is about people failing to PROPERLY operate their vehicles. In most countries these cases would not even be allowed in the judicial system because as other folks in the comments above have pointed out it is the driver’s responsibility to properly shut off the vehicle – NOT the car maker.

        This is a re-do-over of the McD’s hot coffee charade where paid liars reap fortunes and divert personal responsibility for proper operation of the vehicle to the car maker’s so the guilty party who is the driver can be rewarded for their dangerous and in this case deadly negligence. The car makers didn’t leave the cars running, the driver did.

        Since you don’t believe that Stella was at fault for pouring hot coffee on her crotch it would not surprise me if you were to believe the car maker’s are responsible for driver’s not properly shutting the engines off. Many people want to blame other people for their poor decisions, aka negligence. In the U.S. this results in Jackpot Justice where the criminals become millionaires because the paid liars have corrupted the judicial system for huge financial profit.

    • Jorge says:

      Dave, most people in the U.S. do not want to hear the truth. They prefer to blame someone else for their irresponsible behavior. That is the situation with this bogus lawsuit. A paid liar will reap fortunes by convincing technically illiterate jurors that the car maker is actually responsible for the negligent actions of the driver. As such the paid liars and the plaintiffs will actually be rewarded via Jackpot Justice for the deadly behavior of the driver’s. That is not justice that is a huge Injustice and corruption of the judicial system.

      Denial of reality is very lucrative in the U.S. Paid liars can convince gullible jurors that there is no personal responsibility for those who inflict injury or death and that the car maker is responsible for the irrational or negligent actions of the driver or passengers.

      It’s outrageous, disgraceful and totally unacceptable. Paid liars hate me on juries because they can not B.S. the jury when I am a part of it.

      • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

        Jorge, be cautious about dismissing such issues as the result of incompetent consumers and the lawyers who take on their cases. Just as smart companies are ready to take advantage of the foibles of the public, whether it means gullibility, political views or ignorance (hmmmm, one and the same?), a business also has a responsibility to produce products that account for the mistakes and misuses they may be subjected to. Simply blaming a mother for not attaching a child seat properly is no excuse for a manufacturer to not try to engineer the product so it is easier to use correctly, for example.

        Per my own mea culpa, earlier, I recognize from personal experience that it is possible to think you have shut a vehicle off, but not actually do that. In some cases, notably hybrids, you literally cannot tell in certain situations. And other vehicles, including conventional gas models, the start/stop button may operate in such a way you leave the vehicle on or in ACC even if you do press it. I have had the former happen at least once, and two recent press vehicles operated in such a way I had to cycle through several times to be sure I fully shut the cars off.

        It is not reasonable to put products out that should have a simple and easy and consistent function such as Start and Stop. While I am not saying I fully support the plaintiffs here, I just suggest that an immediate and condescending dismissal isn’t necessarily appropriate. I want to hear more.

        And it is interesting to note that when I brought this issue up to a senior exec at one of the companies being sued this week he not only acknowledged there IS an issue at some level but also noted his company is working to deal with it.

        Paul E.

        • GT101 says:

          Paul you seem to have missed the point by several commenters that it is the driver’s responsibility to learn how the vehicle operates and then operate the vehicle accordingly. It is not the car manufacturers responsibility to attach a car seat properly, the onus is the user. It’s not the manufacturers job to attach a bike or bike rack properly, it’s the user of the bike. It’s not the manufacturers responsibility to teach people how to drive, it’s the driver’s responsibility to learn the proper driving skills before operating a vehicle. Just because a company acknowledges improper operator behavior does not mean the company is responsible for the failure of consumers to educate themselves on the operation of the device be it a car or any other device. The belief that a manufacturer is responsible for improper actions by product users is untrue. This is a myth created by lawyers. Everyone is personally responsible for their own actions and no one else.

          • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

            Hi, GT,

            Check my earlier note and you’ll see I don’t believe in letting owners escape all responsibility. But neither should a manufacturer be allowed to slide. A child seat is a great example. There are some that have taken the necessary steps to ensure that a parent readily gets a child safety seat attached properly. Others put out vehicles (or seats) that can often look properly attached but which suddenly come loose in a crash. Holding a corp. UNaccountable means that many will take minimal steps and write off lives to save cash. We have seen that repeatedly in the auto industry and the broader world of consumer goods. That said, for a consumer should not get a free pass if they make no effort to ensure they have taken the necessary steps to buckle in their child — indeed, to buckle themselves in. When the legal system is working correctly it can differentiate, or find proportionate guilt.

            As I mentioned in several of my posts, personal experience in a number of vehicles has shown that it is VERY easy in some to think the vehicle is shut off when it isn’t. Hybrids are the biggest offender. Heck, I have been shocked at how many of these give you little to no indication when you START the car that it actually is running. Other makers have responsibly recognized that confusion may occur and attempted to address it. As I said in several notes, I had dinner the other night with an exec at one company who said they did recognize a reasonable consumer — not just a dolt (not his words) — might be confused by the function of their Start button and are attempting to address it.

            Paul E.

        • Jorge says:

          Paul with all due respect you are 100% incorrect in your assertion that there are ANY laws that require a manufacturer to compensate for the improper operation of a product sold to consumers.

          Virtually ALL products come with an operator’s manual and/or installation instructions. It is impossible for a manufacturer to know all of the crazy things that people will or could do – such as pouring hot coffee on their crotch or other negligent actions such as failing to shut the engine off when parking their car in their garage.

          As noted by posters above above there is virtually NO NEED what so ever for push button on/off ignition systems. The ignition key should be the only source to start or stop an engine. Unfortunately marketers want to add gimmicks to vehicles and as I suggested several years ago these start/stop buttons along with dials for transmission gear selections would cause operating issues because people do not read the OWNER’s MANUAL and fail to properly educate themselves on how to safely operate the vehicle.

          How many OMs have you read before driving off with a new test vehicle, Paul? The answer is probably zero. Do you think the OM might explain how to turn the ignition on/off? I can assure you however that the OM does NOT tell Stella or anyone else how to stow a cup of hot beverage – because no reasonable person would place it between their legs in a moving vehicle.

          It’s unfortunate that you like many well meaning people have been totally misled by paid liars who tell you what they want you to believe, not what the law is. There is NO LAW that states a car maker is responsible for the operator improperly operating the vehicle. There is no law that says a seller of hot beverages is responsible for the consumer’s inappropriate placement of the hot beverage between their legs in a moving vehicle. There is no law that states coffee at 205 F or even 212 F is TOO HOT. This is all nonsense that the paid liars use to convince the gullible that someone else is responsible for the injuries suffered by an individual who ACTED IRRESPONSIBILY, RECKLESSLY and in the above case DEADLY.

          This is precisely why other countries do NOT even allow these bogus liability cases that REWARD irresponsible, dangerous people for their inappropriate actions.

  7. Jim says:

    OK, so I see an inherent problem here. There are times when I WANT to leave my vehicle with the engine running. It’s really quite common. Garage-saling on the weekend, for example. Or traveling with the dog during the summer – any time we need to go into a store for a brief stop, the car goes into Park, Parking Brake is on, and doors are locked, but the car is still running to maintain cabin temperature. I’d hate to see that go away.

  8. Denis says:

    I was motivated to comment since I drive a Toyota Camry Hybrid with Start-Stop Button. If I want to leave to car running when I exit when leaving other passengers in the car,I have no Problem. But when I start to walk away there is a chime that sounds reminding me that the car is either in “READY” mode or is running. I have not had any issue with “Start-Stop”,But,,,I Know How to READ the owners Manual!

  9. gt101 says:

    Paul, installing a car seat properly should be paramount for any parent or care taker as you have someone’s life in your hands. It’s irrational to suggest that the auto maker is at fault if a parent or other person improperly installs a car seat. There is no proportionate guilt because a car maker has zero control over what a vehicle operator does when installing the seat. The manufacturer can’t install the car seat for consumers so the consumer has an obligation to read, understand and follow the installation instructions. If you have ever watched any of the home improvement shows or shows where they use power equipment, they repeat this mantra over and over and over:

    “Read, understand and follow the operating instructions for the device”.

    The same is true with shutting the engine off or failing to do so. I’m certain that any vehicle with a start-stop button explains in the owners manual how to shut the vehicle off properly which often includes setting the parking brake, which many people never do. It is the vehicle operators responsibility to make sure the engine is shut off not the car makers who again has absolutely no control over what operators do with the vehicle.

    There is no negligence at all by the car maker if a person fails to “read, understand and to shut off the engine properly”, or fails to properly attach a car seat or if a person changes a flat tire and fails to tighten the lug bolts properly. Those are all the responsibility of the vehicle operator not the car manufacturer. Those who do not know how to properly perform these actions should not be operating the vehicle as they are not qualified to do so and thus endanger themselves and other people.

    Attempting to hold a car manufacturer responsible for the improper actions of a consumer is totally wrong. Lawyers in the U.S. however have been able to deceive people into believing a car manufacturer should pay for the improper actions of consumers. This distortion of law is all about financial gain for the lawyers by consumers who abdicate their responsibilities to safely operate the vehicle.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      GT, again, I largely agree that consumers need take more responsibility for their actions (or inactions), but we have ALL experienced badly designed products that don’t work or don’t work properly. To go back to the caveat emptor policies of decades past is as wrong as giving plaintiffs attorneys free rein.

      Paul E.

      • Jorge says:

        When a person improperly installs a child’s car seat it does not make the car design “bad”, it makes the person installing the car seat “negligent” for failing to properly install the car seat. It’s exactly the same as Stella placing the cup of hot coffee between her legs in a moving vehicle. Her action is ignorant and irresponsible behavior that can and does lead to self-imposed injuries.

        The fact that an auto maker acknowledges that some consumers are failing to properly install the seat or read the OM, does not mean the car maker is stating the car design is “bad”. It means that the auto maker recognizes that some people are lazy and ignorant and refuse to read the OM or seat installation instructions and by doing so they are endangering the life of a child. In no way does that relate to the car maker being liable for the inappropriate actions of the persons failing to exercise good judgment and insure that the car seat is properly installed.

        Requiring people to read the OM or follow the installation instructions has nothing to do with a caveat emptor policy. The OM and car seat installation instructions are provided to insure consumer’s proper operation of the vehicle and their safety. Failing to even read or follow these instructions is pure negligence by the user as was the case with Stella pouring hot coffee on her crotch. You can spin it any way you want but the car maker or seat maker is not responsible for improper installation or improper use of a product – regardless of what the paid liars claim to dupe gullible jurors and some of the public.

        • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

          Jorge, You are conflating two separate issues. There have been numerous bad designs that allow a seat to appear to be installed properly, even to the most diligent parent. There have been bad seats that allow a seat to seemingly be installed properly only to fail. And there are parents who either don’t take the time or simply fail to understand how to install their child seats. To pretend or fail to recall products you yourself have had that failed for design or manufacturing reasons — and would have no matter how diligent you acted — is hypocritical.

          Do I think that consumers should make every effort to understand how to do things properly? Of course. But there are too many cases of bad design that have resulted in failures for no fault of the consumer.

          Paul E.

          • Jorge says:

            Paul I’m not conflating two separate issues at all. This thread has been about vehicle operators failing to shut off the ignition properly and paid liars filing a lawsuit to blame the car makers for the negligent actions of the drivers.

            In regards to car seats if there is a seat design that is genuinely improper so that when the seat is installed per the manufacturer’s instructions, the seat comes lose or has other issues, then the car seat maker certainly has exposure for said issues and should be held accountable. I agree that all manufacturers of defective products should be held accountable for the products they sell but many are not.

            It is the consumer who is responsible for reading the installation instructions, understanding them and properly installing the seat. If the consumer is unable to do this properly then they need someone who is qualified to do the seat installation.

            The seat manufacturer should not be held accountable for the improper installation of the car seat any more than the car maker should be held accountable for the driver failing to properly shut the engine off and causing carbon monoxide poisoning of people. Just like Stella and the hot coffee deal, consumers have a responsibility to act appropriately when operating a vehicle and that includes installing a car seat properly as well as shutting the engine off when parking the car.

            I have confidence that the paid liars will reap fortunes from this bogus lawsuit. They often do so by duping the gullible.

      • GT101 says:

        Paul this discussion is not about bad products it’s about frivolous lawsuits where lawyers try to convince juries that an auto manufacturer is responsible for the improper use of the vehicle by the operator or improper installation of a car seat, bike rack or the operator failing to properly shut the car off when parking it in their garage.

        Products that are defective clearly carry liability for the manufacturers. As an example if an auto maker used two standard sized bolts to attach a road wheel to a typical 3,000 lb. auto, most engineers would question that as a safety concern. If the wheels tended to come loose, crack or the bolts broke during use, that would be a questionable design and the manufacturer’s responsibility if accidents or injuries occurred.

        If however the auto maker uses four or five bolts but the operator didn’t tighten the bolts to the proper tension after changing a flat tire, the wheel attachment would not be a bad design. The person who changed the tire and didn’t tighten the bolts properly would be liable for their actions and any problems resulting from not properly tightening the bolts. The auto maker has nothing to do with how the operator performed the tire change and is not responsible for any issues that result.

        No one is giving defective designs a free pass. In fact I have wondered for years when software and operating system creators would finally be held accountable for defective digital products. Now that some airplane test pilots and engineers have died from improper software installation and cars are being routinely hacked along with banks, industry, military and government servers it appears people might finally start to be held accountable for defective digital products. This is way past due and the damage has been incredulous to say the least.

        Years ago I discovered a popular business PC accounting system that had a computational error with rudimentary math. This resulted in incorrect accounting reports, tax returns, etc. for all users of this software. When we reported the computational error to the accounting software manufacturer that refused to issue a patch but instead said in the next version of the software they would “address the error”. I wonder how the IRS and other authorities viewed this POV.