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May 19, 2004
The blue-tinged xenon headlights of the Nissan Maxima have become a popular target for thieves who rip them from a car and sell them on the black market, including 277 incidents in Newark alone. The State of New Jersey, noting the epidemic of thefts in its state, has decided to take action -- by suing Nissan. Nissan should have anticipated that its customers would be victimized, says the State, and warned them before they bought the car. (Ronald Smothers, "Nissan Sued Over Theft-Prone Headlights", NY Times, Mar. 9; Crissa Shoemaker, "Lawsuit: Nissan withheld headlight theft risk", Courier-News, Mar. 9; Mitch Lipka, "Headlight theft wave spurs state to sue Nissan", Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 9). According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, Nissan was a leader in taking steps to prevent headlight thefts, so if this suit has legs, look for copycat lawsuits against other auto manufacturers--and this ludicrous theory of liability could end up being extended to other car parts or even carjackings. (Peter DeMarco, "Left in the dark", Boston Globe, Feb. 26; Rod Gibson, "Most-stolen cars? It's debatable", bankrate.com, Sep. 23, 2003).
[cross-posted from Overlawyered, where it ran Mar. 9, 2004]
Posted by Ted Frank at 01:39 PM
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