As is well known by now, TK Holdings Inc. – Takata – has entered a Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The details and latest information on the Takata recall can be found online through NTHSA. While the news has focused on the expansion of the recall, and mentioned the Consent Order, major news outlets have not gotten into the nitty-gritty of the document itself. So, what does the Consent Order actually say? What did Takata and NHTSA actually agree to? We are glad you asked.
Takata agrees by consent (of course) to a host of obligations. These include cooperating with NHTSA (Par. 4). That cooperation is extensive and specific. For example, Takata will agree to “testing reasonably directed by NHTSA…” This is in addition to agreeing to coordinate the recall and remedy programs, prioritizing same and related issues with the remedy. Some items of further cooperation expressly set forth include (Par. 7):
Within 60 days of the Consent Order, July 17, 2015, Takata shall submit a plan to NTHSA outlining additional steps that Takata intends to take. This plan must include at least two components:
And what of NHTSA? What does the government consent to? First, NHTSA agreed not to seek any civil penalties beyond those applicable before May 18, 2015. Second, NHTSA agreed to keep its investigation open until NHTSA, “in its sole discretion and determination” decides that all the issues related to the Takata Inflators have been resolved.