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New "special master" chosen for Takata restitution disbursement

A deployed airbag.
Bee Forks
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Airbags have saved thousands of lives since their introdution, but Takata's airbags are potentially deadly when they deploy.

A federal judge has chosen a new "special master" to oversee Takata restitution payments. 

That's after the first proposed special master, Robert Mueller, was appointed to lead an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  

Harvard University professor Eric Green will be in charge of disbursing nearly $1 billion in payments to people and companies harmed by Takata's defective airbags. From the court notice:

Professor Green has been the mediator in many major high-profile complex cases, including United States v. Microsoft, the Enron civil litigation, the LCD, CRT, polyurethane, auto-parts, payment card and other complex anti-trust cases. He has served as mediator, arbitrator, or Special Master in many mass tort cases including asbestos, PCBs, toxic environmental and occupational exposures, pharmaceutical products liability cases, and financial frauds. Many of these cases involved the fair apportionment of limited settlement funds among eligible claimants, similar to the task in this case

Takata will pay $25 million in fines to the government; $125 million will go into a fund to compensate individuals hurt or killed by defective Takata airbags, and $850 million will go to a fund to repay auto companies for costly airbag recalls. 

Eleven people in the U.S. are known to have been killed and about 180 injured by shrapnel from Takata bags that deployed with too much force.

The defect resulted in an ongoing, nationwide recall of more than 42 million cars -- the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. 

Further fatalities caused by the airbags have led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to order an ongoing, nationwide recall of more than 42 million cars, the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.