Hyundai and Kia have moved for dismissal in a lawsuit which pits several hundred Insurance companies against the Korean car manufacturers. A U.S. judge has rejected Hyundai and Kia’s motion for dismissal.
Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, California dismissed the car manufacturer’s arguments that it was unfair for insurers to recover losses without identifying the victims or specifying which drivers were affected. The judge also rejected the notion that insurers shouldn’t be able to recoup losses since they collected premiums and assumed the risk of theft. Selna also found that the absence of anti-theft devices on 14.3 million Hyundais and Kias from 2011 to 2022 made thefts foreseeable, a “predictable consequence” of Hyundai’s and Kia’s actions.
The insurance companies claim losses of $1 billion dollars due to vehicles which were stolen or damaged in the social media-inspired theft spree.
Hyundai expressed disappointment with the decision and hopes for a future dismissal.
Thefts have been attributed to TikTok videos which demonstrate how to steal cars without push-button ignitions and immobilizers, all in a matter of seconds.
On October 31, a judge granted initial approval to a settlement between Hyundai and Kia and a group of vehicle owners. The settlement is worth $200 million and could provide up to $145 million in payments to drivers. It covers over 9 million vehicles. Selna also handles lawsuits brought by municipalities to recover expenses related to car thefts.