Kia Stolen Car Lawsuit Dismissed in Angela Fox Crash

Stolen Kia flees police and crashes into another vehicle, injuring plaintiff who sued Kia.

Kia Stolen Car Lawsuit Dismissed in Angela Fox Crash

Posted in News

— A Kia stolen car lawsuit has been dismissed after the injured plaintiff sued for more than $15 million in an Ohio courtroom.

On August 29, 2022, Ohio plaintiff Angela Fox was severely injured when her vehicle collided with a Kia Sportage which had been stolen in Lakewood, Ohio.

The Kia Sportage driver who stole the vehicle was running from the police when the Sportage crashed into a vehicle occupied by plaintiff Fox in East Cleveland, Ohio.

Angela Fox filed the Kia stolen vehicle lawsuit and blamed not the person who stole the Sportage, but blamed her injuries on the “direct and proximate result of Defendant’s defective design and manufacture” of the stolen Kia Sportage.

The lawsuit alleges Kia failed to install engine immobilizers in the stolen Kia Sportage and “most of its vehicles sold in the United States from approximately 2010 through 2021.”

An engine immobilizer is described as an anti-theft device that can prevent vehicles from starting unless a verified code is received by a transponder module that controls the engine and prevents the engine from being “hotwired” or started by any means other than an authorized key.

The entire issue is based on what came to be known as the "Kia Challenge" which involves teenage criminals watching online videos about how to break into the vehicles, start them and steal them.

Individuals, typically teens, watch a video which instructs others, also typically teens, to break a window, destroy the steering column, remove the ignition lock and start the vehicle with a standard USB cable.

From there the Kia is taken for a "joyride."

In addition to blaming a lack of an engine immobilizer, the lawsuit also blames the plaintiff's injuries on Kia's “flimsy steering columns” and contends the ignition lock assemblies are defective. The plaintiff also asserts the Kia Sportage didn't have an adequate alarm system.

All of those alleged Kia problems allowed a thief to steal the Sportage and crash into the Fox vehicle.

Motion to Dismiss the Stolen Kia Lawsuit

Kia told Judge Pamela A. Barker the crash occurred because someone decided to steal the Sportage, drive reckless and flee from the police.

The automaker also referenced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration response to about 20 state attorneys general who told NHTSA a Hyundai and Kia recall should be issued due to a lack of engine immobilizers.

The NHTSA letter made it clear engine immobilizers are not required in the U.S.

"At this time, NHTSA has not determined that this issue constitutes either a safety defect or noncompliance requiring a recall under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard identified in your letter, FMVSS No. 114, does not require an engine immobilizer." — NHTSA

Federal safety regulators also said a "test procedure specified in that standard does not contemplate actions taken by criminal actors to break open or remove part of the steering column and take out the ignition lock to start a vehicle."

In the end, NHTSA found the "safety risk arises from unsafe use of a motor vehicle by an unauthorized person after taking significant destructive actions to parts of the vehicle."

Though the stolen Kia lawsuit was dismissed by the judge, it wasn't because of NHTSA's statements about the Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

In its motion to dismiss, Kia argues the theft of the Sportage and the thief’s reckless driving "break the chain of proximate cause as a matter of law."

Kia also argues if the Sportage thief participated in the Kia Challenge, it “would simply add one more criminal act between Kia’s alleged conduct and Plaintiff’s injury,” especially given the “literally unprecedented” nature of that “social media phenomenon.”

"The Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to plausibly allege that any alleged defect in the Kia Sportage that collided with her vehicle in August 2022 was the proximate cause of her injury. Ohio courts have consistently found, as a matter of law, that the theft of a motor vehicle constitutes an intervening cause that breaks the chain of causation with respect to the car owner’s liability for personal injuries arising from that theft." — Judge Barker

The Kia stolen car lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio: Angela Fox v. Kia America, Inc.

The plaintiff is represented by Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC.

Read about other Hyundai/Kia stolen car lawsuits: