Georgia Judge Refuses To Dismiss GM LawsuitAugust 11, 2014
A Georgia judge refused to dismiss a GM lawsuit filed by the parents of a young woman who died in an accident attributed to the auto manufacturer’s faulty ignition switches. Judge Kathryn Tanksley of the Cobb County State Court in Marietta rejected a notion from General Motors to dismiss the GM lawsuit and set a trial date from April 2016. The automaker requested a dismissal of the suit, claiming that it was a refiling of a previous case involving the same victim.
Details of the GM Lawsuit
The parents of Brooke Melton filed a GM lawsuit in 2010 after their daughter died in an auto accident. The accident occurred when Ms. Melton was driving her 2005 Chevy Cobalt, one of more than 3 million vehicles currently under recall for defective ignition switches. The Meltons settled the 2010 GM lawsuit with the company in September 2013, but filed the new case after reports showed that the company attempted to cover up the ignition switch flaw.
Defect Brings Numerous GM Lawsuits
The Melton cases show the reasons behind the thousands of GM lawsuits the company currently faces. Documents showed that the ignition switches in several models would switch off power to the car if they were jostled, if the driver attached a heavy key chain to the ignition key, or if the car drove over uneven pavement. The power failure would cause drivers to lose control and prevent air bags from deploying in the event of an accident. Reports from GM cite 13 deaths and 54 injuries from the problem, but GM lawsuits claim nearly 100 deaths and hundreds of injuries attributable to the defect.
New GM Lawsuit Claims Fraud
Although the Meltons settled the original GM lawsuit stemming from the accident, the new case claims that GM engaged in fraud and unethical behavior to cover up the ignition switch defect. Lawyers defending the automaker in the GM lawsuit claim that allowing the new case to continue amounted to allowing plaintiffs the unilateral power of re-opening closed cases.
“A plaintiff who is dissatisfied with a prior settlement cannot simply offer to tender back the consideration received in the settlement and then unilaterally institute a new lawsuit,” the company said.
Perjury Allegations and GM Lawsuits
The Meltons’ attorney maintains that the settlement in their previous GM lawsuit came due to false testimony from a GM engineer. An internal investigation into the ignition switch found that an engineer, Ray DeGiorgio, approved a change to the defective switch in the Cobalt in 2006. In the first GM lawsuit filed by the Meltons, Mr. DeGiorgio testified under oath that he was unaware of any change to the switch’s design.
Source: Toledo Blade
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