The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had fined Kawasaki Motors Corporation $5.2 million civil penalty for failing to immediately inform the commission about defective recreational off-road vehicles and knowingly low-balling the number of defect reports it received from consumers, Law360 reports. This significant fine settles charges that Kawasaki did not report to the federal agency that its Teryx4 750, Teryx4 800 and Teryx 800 from model years 2012 to 2016 were defective or that the recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) caused an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.
Deliberate Underreporting of Incidents
The defect in question involves floorboards cracking or breaking during normal use from being hit with debris coming from outside the vehicle. The commission claimed that Kawasaki knowingly misrepresented to the CPSC the number of reports it got from consumers regarding the Teryx4 750 and not reporting any with the other two models. The commission voted 4-1 to approve the penalty agreement. Kawasaki in fact received more than 400 reports of Teryx4 750 floorboards cracking or breaking during normal use, with three reports of injuries, one serious.
Kawasaki also got more than 150 reports of the Teryx4 800 or Teryx 800 floorboards cracking. Three of these incidents resulted in injuries to consumers, including two serious injuries. Kawasaki failed to immediately notify CPSC of the defect or risk posed by the ROVs as required by federal law.
When the company did file its full report with the CPSC, it inly reported one floorboard incident and an unspecified number of injuries, leaving out more than 400 similar incidents, which it knew about. In addition to the civil penalty, Kawasaki will run a program to ensure compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act, as well as a related system of internal controls and procedures. This settlement of course does not mean Kawasaki admitted violating the law.
Corporations Should Be Held Accountable
As product defect lawyers, we often see that product manufacturers are rarely held liable for their wrongdoing. That is why we take it on ourselves to hold them accountable, particularly for defective products that cause serious injury or death or present the risk of injury or death. For our injured clients, we are often the last resort for justice. We derive great satisfaction not only from helping our catastrophically injured clients receive maximum compensation for their losses, but also holding the wrongdoers accountable – something even governments aren’t able to do most of the time.