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Baron & Budd Alongside Co-Counsel Obtain $200 Million Settlement in Hyundai, Kia Theft Class-Action Lawsuit
The nationally recognized attorneys at Baron & Budd, alongside co-counsel, reached a proposed settlement valued at more than $200 million in a class-action lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia alleging the automakers’ failed to install basic security measures on certain 2011-2022 Hyundai and Kia models that made them more susceptible to theft.
The lawsuit stems from the automakers’ failure to equip certain models with an immobilizer, a common anti-theft device in modern cars which prevents most vehicles from being started unless a code is transmitted from the vehicle’s smart key. This alleged defect was spotlighted and made popular through viral TikTok “Kia Challenge” videos demonstrating the simple techniques used to steal the affected Hyundai and Kia vehicles using only a common USB charging cord or similar metal object to start the engine.
Relief for Vehicle Owners
The settlement has been designed to quickly address a multitude of issues faced by the owners of the affected vehicles, which total 9 million – 4.5 million Hyundai vehicles and 4.5 million Kia vehicles.
The settlement provides various benefits, including:
- Up to $145 Million for Out-of-Pocket Losses. Compensation for a range of out-of-pocket damages, including total loss of vehicles up to $6,125, damage to vehicle and personal property up to $3,375, insurance-related expenses and other related expenses including car rental, taxi costs, ride share costs or public transit payments not otherwise covered by insurance.
The settlement will also reimburse affected owners for towing costs as well as other fees and taxes related to replacement vehicles if the affected car was lost or stolen.
The settlement also includes payments to those whose vehicles were crashed or were stolen and never recovered, as well as coverage for speeding tickets, red light tickets or other penalties or fines incurred arising from a stolen vehicle.
- Software Upgrades. Owners of affected vehicles are eligible for a software upgrade at no cost to effectively address the cars’ lack of an immobilizer. The software is designed to prevent the vehicles from starting without the key being present.
Hyundai vehicles eligible for the software upgrade include:
- 2018-2022 Accent,
- 2011-2022 Elantra,
- 2013-2020 Elantra GT,
- 2018-2022 Kona, 2013-2022 Santa Fe,
- 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport,
- 2019 Santa Fe XL,
- 2011-2019 Sonata,
- 2011-2022 Tucson,
- 2012-2017, 2019-2021 Veloster,
- 2020-2021 Venue,
- 2013-2014 Genesis Coupe and
- 2020-2021 Palisade
Kia vehicles eligible for the software upgrade include:
- 2011-2022 Kia Sportage,
- 2011-2022 Kia Sorento,
- 2021-2022 Kia K5,
- 2011-2021 Kia Sedona,
- 2014-2021 Kia Forte,
- 2012-2021 Kia Rio,
- 2021-2022 Kia Seltos,
- 2011-2020 Kia Optima and
- 2020-2022 Kia Soul
- Payments in Lieu of Software Upgrades. Owners of models that are not able to receive the software upgrade will be eligible for reimbursement of up to $300 for the installation of a glass breakage alarm or anti-theft system, purchase of a steering wheel lock, or other aftermarket modifications designed to deter or prevent theft.
“We believe this settlement offers comprehensive, welcome relief for the class that will serve as a lesson to automakers to not overlook such integral, basic safety features,” said Roland Tellis, Baron & Budd Shareholder.
Class-action lawsuits filed nationwide have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation as In re: Kia and Hyundai Vehicle Theft Litigation, MDL No. 3052. Baron & Budd worked alongside Hagens Berman, Fegan Scott and Humphrey, and Farrington & McClain as the court appointed leads on the case.
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Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the oldest, largest, and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. The firm has garnered national acclaim for its complex litigation work, including automotive class action litigation against every major automobile manufacturer for concealing safety defects. The firm filed the first lawsuit involving the recall of tens of millions of Takata-branded airbags and achieved a settlement valued in excess of $1.5 billion. The firm was also involved in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” litigation and helped achieve a settlement valued in excess of $14 billion.