Earlier this month, Kobe Steel, Ltd. made several public announcements stating that products it had shipped during the past year had not met customer specifications. The initial announcement by Kobe Steel addressed products it had shipped between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017. The affected products included flat rolled aluminum, aluminum extrusions, aluminum castings and forgings, copper strips and copper tubes. Kobe Steel has subsequently made announcements regarding a similar problem with copper tubes, heavy steel plates, and steel powder shipped by its affiliates.
To date, Kobe Steel has stated only that the products involved did not conform to customer specifications and that the inspection certificates accompanying the shipments were incorrect. It has not announced any product failures or specific defects in the products.
Kobe Steel undoubtedly will make further announcements about this subject. Government authorities in the United States and Japan are already investigating. If you believe you purchased any of these products or if you believe that goods you purchased contain these products, you should monitor this situation for further developments.
Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP has established a cross-discipline Kobe Steel task force, bringing our Automotive, Aviation, Japanese and Manufacturer Industry Groups together with our Class Action and Products Liability Practice Group to monitor the situation and provide relevant information and advice to clients. If you have questions, contact our Kobe Steel Task Force at SGRKSTaskForce@sgrlaw.com.