— A Cadillac Escalade class action lawsuit alleges all consumers “who purchased or leased a 2007-2010 Cadillac Escalade in Tennessee” are driving vehicles with defective ARC airbags.
The General Motors lawsuit alleges the Cadillac Escalade airbag inflators have defects that cause the metal inflators to explode and injure and kill occupants.
The Cadillac Escalade class action lawsuit was filed by Tennessee plaintiff Rittie Marshall who owns a 2007 Cadillac Escalade.
The plaintiff contends she did not know the Escalade’s airbag had a defective inflator, but she does not assert her airbag inflator ruptured.
The 2007-2010 Cadillac Escalades throughout Tennessee are equipped with ARC airbag inflators that contain phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) which is used to deploy the airbags.
But the propellant is volatile and can put too much pressure on the metal inflator, causing it to explode and send shrapnel into occupants.
"The Inflator Defect is present in ARC’s toroidal stored gas hybrid inflators equipped in both driver and passenger airbags (the 'Defective Inflators'), which were assembled into airbag modules manufactured by AUTOLIV, INC. and AUTOLIV ASP, INC. (the 'Autoliv Defendants'), which in turn were installed into the Class Vehicles by GM." — Cadillac Escalade class action lawsuit
According to the Cadillac class action, ARC allegedly used a flawed friction welding design, which refers to a "process in which rotational force causes metal to soften so that two or more pieces can be welded together. Because the metal is rotating as it softens, pieces of the metal can be flung into unintended locations and harden. This is called 'weld flash' or 'flash.'”
ARC Airbag Inflator Investigation and Recalls
The Cadillac Escalade class action lawsuit references a federal airbag investigation opened in 2015 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The investigation was initiated after an ARC airbag inflator ruptured in a Kia Optima and caused serious injuries to the driver.
The investigation was upgraded in 2016 following the death of a Hyundai Elantra occupant in Canada from a ruptured ARC airbag inflator.
The lawsuit also references a 2017 incident involving a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu’s driver side inflator rupture during a crash in Pennsylvania. GM recalled 2010-2011 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles in 2019 which had inflators from the same lot as the one which had ruptured.
However, the Escalade airbag lawsuit alleges GM failed to disclose the flaws of all the inflators and not just the components from one recalled lot of inflators.
Another GM airbag recall was issued in June 2022 following the death of a 2015 Chevy Traverse driver from a ruptured driver's side ARC airbag. According to the class action lawsuit, the driver was the mother of 10 children and four of them were with her when the airbag inflator exploded.
In addition to GM incidents, the Cadillac Escalade class action lawsuit also references multiple airbag ruptures that occurred in vehicles manufactured by other automakers.
The Cadillac Escalade class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee (Western Division): Rittie Marshall v. ARC Automotive, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Wells & Associates, PLLC.