August 26, 2015

Federal Judge Orders Case Back to State Court for Discovery and Speedy Trial

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.) In a major win for a woman who was rendered a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic after the Takata airbag in her Honda Civic deployed with excessive force,  a federal judge ordered her case back to state court, paving the way for her to receive a speedy trial against Honda, Takata and a local dealership that worked on her car.

In an order issued on Tuesday, Judge Brian J. Davis, of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville, remanded the case to state court after finding Honda lacked an objectively reasonable basis for removing the case from the Duval County Circuit Court where it had been pending since January.  This order is significant because Honda removed the case, Mincey v. Honda Motor Company, LTD., and Takata Corporation et al., the day before the state court was poised to set a trial date, in an effort to wrap the case into the corporations’ multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving defective airbag claims throughout the nation. That move would have hindered discovery and significantly delayed a decision on Mincey’s claims.

"This decision underscores that Honda and Takata improperly tried to remove Patricia Mincey's case to federal court, an action that could have slowed the case down and made it more difficult for the truth to come out,” said Mincey’s attorney Theodore Leopold, of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. “Now that the case is where it should be – back in state court– we are all set for discovery and trial. We look forward to obtaining a full measure of justice for our grievously injured client.”

The lawsuit brought on behalf of Mincey in January 2015 charges that Honda Motor Company and airbag system manufacturer Takata Corporation concealed the defective nature of its airbag systems – including potential overpowered deployment–from consumers for more than a decade prior to Mincey’s June 2014 accident.

According to the lawsuit, both Honda and Takata, along with several of their subsidiary companies, were aware of the grave safety dangers associated with the defective airbags through consumer complaints, claims, and lawsuits. In fact, over the past 13 years at least five deaths and 139 injuries have been attributed to defective Takata airbags in Honda vehicles.

In Patricia Mincey’s case, her catastrophic injuries occurred after the driver’s side airbag in her Honda Civic forcefully exploded during a minor motor vehicle collision. As a direct result of the excessive airbag deployment, Mincey sustained permanent injuries resulting in quadriplegia, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life.  On her behalf, Leopold demanded a jury trial and a judgment awarding compensatory damages against the defendants, including the expense of Mincey’s hospitalization, medical and nursing care, loss of earnings and ability to earn a living.

Court Order - August 25, 2015


Pam Avery, 402-305-0799