Exploding air bag lawsuits involving Takata Corp. consolidated in Miami federal court

Lawsuits filed around the country over allegedly defective auto air bags made by Takata Corp. are being consolidated before a Miami federal judge.

A federal panel decided Thursday to combine the cases for pretrial rulings before U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno. More than 70 potential class-action lawsuits have been filed claiming the air bags are defective because they can explode and cause injury or death with flying debris.

A key legal question is whether Takata knew of the defect but did not disclose that knowledge to regulators, according to court papers. The company has said it is still trying to identify the cause.

The lawsuits also name several major automakers. About 12 million vehicles in the U.S. and about 19 million globally have been recalled because of air bag problems.