Lawsuit filed in UP explosive air bag death

HOUGHTON, Mich. –The family of a Michigan woman who was killed after an airbag module exploded in her SUV following an accident has filed a negligence lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Houghton County Circuit Court and names Arc Automotive Inc., General Motors and Toyoda Gosei North America Corp. She is asking for a jury trial and more than $25,000 in damages.

The lawsuit claims that pieces of the airbag inflator, steering wheel and steering column of Marlene Beaudoin’s Chevy Traverse pierced her chest, neck and head after her vehicle was struck on August 15, 2021 by a car in Calumet in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Police reports show that a fragment of metal inflator hit his neck during the crash. Beaudoin, 39, died in a hospital.

Four of Beaudoin’s 10 children were also in the SUV.

The Associated Press left emails Friday seeking comment from Arc Automotive Inc. and Toyoda Gosei North America. General Motors declined to comment on Friday.

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ARC Automotive manufactures airbag inflators which are sold to airbag manufacturers. ARC Automotive, GM, Ford and Volkswagen were named in May in a federal class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco.

The lawsuit accuses the companies of knowingly selling vehicles that contain airbag inflators that are at risk of exploding. Two deaths and at least four injuries have been linked to such explosions.

Five plaintiffs in the class action are owners of vehicles equipped with ARC inflators who claim that defective airbag parts were not disclosed when they made their purchases.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been investigating ARC inflators for nearly seven years without finding a solution, has estimated that 51 million of these vehicles are on US roads. This represents somewhere between 10% and 20% of all passenger vehicles.

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