California-based MLG Attorneys at Law Files Lawsuit on the Heels of September Class Action, Alleging the Active Withholding of Vital Security Systems in Kia and Hyundai Cars

BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Jonathan Michaels, principal at MLG Attorneys at Law, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against automaker Kia for the death of two teenage boys, Kevin Payne, 16, and Swazine Swindle, 17, resulting from the October 24 crash inspired by a viral TikTok trend. 

The federal lawsuit alleges that Kia knowingly manufactured cars without an engine immobilizer – an important safety device that prevents cars from being hotwired. The lawsuit further alleges that when the lack of an engine immobilizer became widely publicized in a TikTok video, Kia failed to issue a recall or notify vehicle owners that their cars were at serious risk of theft. According to the lawsuit, Kia was aware its vehicles were being stolen by teenagers yet failed to take any action to prevent such thefts.

“We are filing this complaint to address the complete disregard for public safety and careless inaction that Kia has shown the city of Buffalo and the entire United States. Kia was aware of this defect long before this October 24 tragedy and it chose not to initiate a recall. These vehicles became a viral internet sensation during the summer of 2022, showing how easy it is for a child to get behind the wheel of a car and start it with a simple USB cable.”

The Orange County, Calif.-based law firm previously filed a national class action lawsuit alleging that cars manufactured between 2011 and 2021 by car makers Kia and Hyundai were made without an engine immobilizer. According to Michaels, over the last twenty years, virtually every car manufacturer has used engine immobilizers to prevent cars from being hot-wired – except Kia and Hyundai.

“Engine immobilizers have been an industry standard since the late 1990s in automobile manufacturing and design. It is remarkable that Kia built these cars without the immobilizer, when it advertised its vehicles as having world-class technology,” said Michaels.

More than a dozen class action lawsuits have been filed against Kia and Hyundai since August, but Michaels’ firm, known for specializing in automotive defects and with experience litigating against nearly every car manufacturer, has been the most vigorous. In October, the law firm publicly urged California Gov. Gavin Newsom to take legal action against Kia and Hyundai.

The wrongful death lawsuit against Kia seeks compensatory damages for the loss of life of the two teenagers, as well as punitive damages in amount sufficient to make an example of Kia.


Located in Orange County, California, MLG is a leading firm for protecting consumers from automotive defects. The firm has litigated cases against nearly every major automotive manufacturer in the world, and has been involved in numerous class actions against automakers for malfeasance. Follow MLG on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Contact: Sharon Noot                                                                         
Phone: (714) 600-9022
Email: [email protected]

SOURCE MLG Attorneys at Law


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