A state judge is allowing the wrongful death lawsuit that first brought to light General Motors' faulty ignition switch problem to be reopened. The automaker had sought to have the auto products liability case, which had already been settled, stopped.
The parents of Brooke Melton had resolved the case with the automaker in 2013, months before GM started to recall vehicles over the defect. The plaintiffs are now claiming that the automaker lied to them about not knowing about the safety issue.
The auto defect involved a faulty switch that can automatically shut off the engine of the affected vehicle and prevent the air bags from activating. This year, GM admitted that as far back as a decade ago a few of its employees knew about the problem. Melton died in 2010 when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt hydroplaned, hitting another vehicle and then going off road and into a ditch.
Meantime, products liability lawyers are continuing to file more faulty ignition switch lawsuits for plaintiffs seeking damages for personal injury or the wrongful deaths of loved ones. Already, there have been at least 100 wrongful death and 184 personal injury claims made to the victim settlement fund set up by GM. Hundreds of other complaints have also been submitted, with more likely.
In addition to the original ignition switch defect cited that led to the massive recalls, there have also been complaints filed about at least one other ignition switch problem involving GM cars that lawyers say is similar to the first one. GM, however, maintains that the purported problem is not the same.
In other GM auto defect news, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are trying to find out whether there were people in the automaker’s legal department or others that hid evidence of the original auto defect from regulators. The review is part of a bigger criminal probe into what may have been misleading statements made by General Motors to regulators about the safety issue. Automakers have five days from discovering an auto defect to notify the U.S. government.
In Massachusetts, our Boston GM faulty ignition switch lawyers would like to offer you a free case consultation. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.
U.S. Probe Examines GM Lawyers, The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2014
Texas lawyer hits GM with another lawsuit, Detroit Free Press, July 30, 2014
GM loses bid to stop key recall lawsuit, CNN.com, August 11, 2014
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