Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans confirmed on Monday, April 24, that the City of Rochester has retained outside legal counsel to pursue litigation seeking to hold Kia America, Inc. and Hyundai Motor America, Inc. responsible for the costs associated with the rash of thefts of those vehicles in the city.
Rochester joins eight other cities, including Buffalo, N.Y.; Cleveland, Ohio; San Diego, Calif.; and Seattle, Washington. The multidistrict lawsuit says that both Kia and Hyundai knowingly manufactured, distributed and marketed cars without readily available anti-theft technology and failed to address the issue even after thefts became rampant.
“The costs to taxpayers of the City of Rochester are skyrocketing – in law enforcement, property damage, waived impound fees, and public safety – because of the decision by Kia and Hyundai to not install readily available anti-theft technology,” said Mayor Evans.
In the first three months of 2023, the City of Rochester experienced a nearly 2400% increase in thefts of Kia and Hyundai automobiles – from only 32 from January to March 2022 to 752 in that same timeframe in 2023, according to a city of Rochester media release.
City says the suit will claim that the car manufacturers placed profits over people and safety, and cut corners by not incorporating immobilizing technology that would have prevented people from being able to easily hotwire their vehicles using a USB cable.
“These thefts are negatively impacting the quality of life of Rochester residents and the livelihoods of Rochester business owners,” Evans said.
Seattle-based law firm Keller Rohrback will represent the municipalities pursuing damages from the two automakers, the cases will be coordinated in federal court in the Central District of California, where Kia and Hyundai have U.S. headquarters.