New Mexico State Judge Sheri Raphaelson granted summary judgment in favor of American Honda Motor Company (“AHM”) and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (“HAM”) and denied the plaintiffs’ request for class certification in a lawsuit filed in 2002 – Lohman et al. v. Takata Corp., et al., Cause No. D-101-CV-2002-01279 in the First Judicial District Court, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is the second time PHMY obtained dismissal on behalf of Honda in this case.
In June 2002, the plaintiffs sued multiple automobile manufacturers, component suppliers and testing companies over claims that millions of Takata TK-52 seatbelt buckles, including those installed in Honda vehicles, were prone to “partial engagement” and failed to comply with applicable federal safety standards.
Originally, AHM was the only Honda entity named in the lawsuit. In 2003 Honda, and numerous other manufacturers, moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint. The district court granted AHM’s motion in 2005.
Honda was out of the lawsuit completely, for three years, until the plaintiffs were allowed to name a new putative class representative in 2008, Joann Candelaria, who asserted claims against AHM and HAM. In January 2010, AHM and HAM filed their motion for summary judgment and their opposition to the request for class certification. The Honda defendants sought summary judgment on the basis that Candelaria’s claims against them were barred by New Mexico’s statute of limitations. The other remaining defendant in the lawsuit, SGS U.S. Testing Company, Inc. (“SGS”) filed its motion for summary judgment, also based on the statute of limitations, in May 2010. Judge Raphaelson granted SGS’ summary judgment motion in July 2010. She then granted the Honda defendants’ motion on January 4, 2010. Finding that there were no more claims pending, Judge Raphaelson also denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification as moot, ending one of the longest ongoing class action lawsuits in New Mexico.
AHM and HAM were represented by Jeff Hawkins, Grant McFarland, David Montpas and Daniela Gonzalez Aldape of PHMY and by Walter G. Melendres of Santa Fe.