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Federal Magistrate Rejects Resolution in Hyundai and Kia Vehicle Theft Lawsuit

Federal Magistrate Rejects Resolution in Hyundai and Kia Vehicle Theft Lawsuit


Federal Magistrate Rejects Resolution in Hyundai and Kia Vehicle Theft Lawsuit

A federal magistrate has turned down the endorsement of a proposed resolution in a class-action lawsuit triggered by a surge in instances of vehicle theft involving Hyundai and Kia automobiles. The judge cited the inadequacy of the proposed remedies, deeming them lacking in terms of being "equitable and sufficient" for the afflicted vehicle owners.

The settlement, disclosed in the month of May, holds a prospective valuation of approximately $200 million. It extends its purview over the span of 9 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles from the model years 2011 through 2022, all situated within the United States as confirmed by the companies at that particular time.

This particular cohort of cars bears the absence of push-button ignitions and immobilization mechanisms aimed at countering theft. This omission has inadvertently paved the way for the ease with which thieves have been absconding with these vehicles, utilizing nothing more than a simple screwdriver and a USB cord. The aftermath has been an unrelenting surge in auto thefts spanning the nation.

In the contours of the proposed settlement, vehicle proprietors stand to receive monetary compensations to address theft-linked damages. Additionally, a voluntary recall is on offer, with the intent of introducing updates to the theft-prevention software. Nonetheless, District Judge James Selna of the United States' District Court raised apprehensions regarding the mechanics of calculating the restitution amounts, as well as expressing reservations about the efficacy of the software update in deterring prospective instances of theft.

The automakers, within the opening months of 2023, went on to proclaim the impending introduction of the update. The innovation was positioned as an intervention aimed at rectifying a security vulnerability that had been uncovered through the social media platform TikTok and similar virtual venues. Yet, by the time May arrived, the Associated Press had already documented an ongoing spate of vehicle thefts involving Kia and Hyundai models, exhibiting rates that could only be described as deeply unsettling.

Drawing upon data procured from eight distinct cities within the United States, the news agency deduced that, in a majority of these locales—precisely seven—the law enforcement agencies had logged conspicuous year-on-year surges in theft-related reports extending through April.

In a letter that surfaced on the 11th of August, the attorneys general hailing from six different states, alongside the District of Columbia, collectively pressed Judge Selna to mandate the inclusion of anti-theft technology—referred to as engine immobilizers—across all Hyundai and Kia vehicles that are predisposed to theft. This proposition, they suggested, could possibly be amalgamated with a vehicle repurchase initiative as an alternative to the update and the financial restitutions originally proposed.

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