Takata asks bankruptcy judge to halt air bag lawsuits

By RANDALL CHASE Markets Associated Press

Japanese auto parts supplier Takata is asking a Delaware bankruptcy judge for an injunction prohibiting the governments of Hawaii, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from prosecuting lawsuits involving the company's lethally defective air bag inflators.

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In a complaint filed Thursday, Takata also is seeking to extend the automatic halt of litigation against a company in bankruptcy to hundreds of individual lawsuits against automobile manufacturers who installed the faulty air bags.

The judge will hold a telephonic status conference on Takata's request Tuesday.

Takata says allowing the lawsuits to proceed would seriously jeopardize its restructuring efforts, including the planned sale of most of its assets to a Chinese-owned rival for $1.6 billion.

Takata was forced into bankruptcy amid lawsuits, multimillion-dollar fines and crushing recall costs involving the air bags.