The parents of Brooke Melton have settled their second auto products liability case with General Motors. Brooke, 29, died on her birthday in 2010 when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt skid on a wet road and was struck by another car.
Experts hired by the Meltons’ legal team said that the ignition of the Cobalt had slipped from “run” into “accessory” mode just before the collision, causing the engine, power steering, airbags, and power brakes to become disabled. They also identified that the ignition switch used in the Cobalt was not the same as the one found in cars of the same model that were built in the years following. The products defects case was settled for $5 million.
However, after GM disclosed that a number of its vehicles were linked to an ignition switch defect last year—the company eventually recalling some 2.6 million vehicles—the Meltons sued the automaker again, claiming that the company committed fraud by settling the first case while continuing to knowingly sell faulty ignition switches. The manufacturer’s own engineers have said that excessive weight or jarring on an ignition key may cause the switch to move from “run” to “accessory” mode, shutting off the power.