Feinberg may be tapped to run $1 billion Takata compensation fund

Kenneth Feinberg

A federal judge may tap Kenneth Feinberg to oversee claims for almost $1 billion that Takata Corp will pay to victims of malfunctioning air bag inflators connected to various deaths and injuries, court authorities stated.

Feinberg is an attorney and long time compensation adviser.

In April, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh stated he prepared to call former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller to supervise the Takata settlement funds. However Mueller resigned from his law firm last month to head the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and informed Steeh he could no longer accept the Takata assignment.

Takata, which is based in Tokyo, is among the world’s biggest automotive suppliers. It pleaded guilty this year in federal court in Detroit to fraud charges as part of a settlement contract with the United States government over massive remembers coming from the defective air bag inflators.

The gadgets can blow up with extreme force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside vehicles. They have been blamed for no less than 16 deaths and over 180 injuries across the world.

The Takata settlement consists of a $25 million criminal penalty, $125 million in victim compensation and $850 million to compensate auto companies that have suffered losses from enormous recalls.

The Justice Department in January suggested Feinberg to oversee the Takata settlement payout. An expert in mediation and dispute resolution, he formerly oversaw the September 11 attacks compensation fund, the BP oil spill fund and compensation paid by General Motors to victims of its defective ignition switches.

Kenneth Feinberg stated Monday he had no conversation recently with Judge Steeh and was uninformed of any decision on who will serve as the monitor. Steeh has made no final decision on who will function as monitor following Mueller’s withdrawal, his office stated.

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