Tags: general motors | gm | ignition switch lawsuit | safety

GM Settles Death Lawsuit That Spurred Millions of Recalls

Friday, 13 Mar 2015 01:27 PM


General Motors Co. settled a lawsuit over the death of a 29-year-old woman that helped trigger the recall of 2.59 million cars with faulty ignition switches.

GM is the target of investigations by state and federal agencies related to the defect. It has resulted in 64 deaths and 108 injury claims eligible for compensation, according to Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the automaker’s victim fund. Another 156 death claims are under review, the fund said.

GM lawyer Anton Valukas reported last year the company failed for at least a decade to promptly resolve complaints from consumers and dealers about abnormal crashes of Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion cars. Valukas also said GM later replaced the faulty ignition switch without alerting the public or changing the part number as required.

The ignition-switch recall began in February 2014 and included the Cobalt and Saturn Ion. Following the Cobalt recall, GM, the largest U.S. automaker, stepped up its review of safety issues and recalled millions more vehicles in the U.S.

Brooke Melton

Brooke Melton, 29, died in a March 2010 crash when the ignition switch in her 2005 Cobalt failed, causing her to lose control of the car. Her parents settled their first lawsuit for $5 million, but then asked GM to rescind that agreement. They then filed a second suit alleging the automaker concealed the defects in the Cobalt and withheld evidence before their initial settlement was reached.

The terms of the new settlement weren’t revealed.

“The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Melton would be willing to take on a corporate giant and end up being directly responsible for alerting both the government and the public to a massive cover-up by GM is one of the most courageous things that I’ve experienced in my career as a lawyer,” Jere Beasley, one of the parents’ attorneys, said Friday in a statement.

Most lawsuits tied to the defect are before a U.S. judge in New York. Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, confirmed the settlement of the Melton’s Georgia suit, declining further comment.

The case is Melton v. General Motors LLC, 14A-1197-4, State Court, Cobb County, Georgia (Marietta).


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General Motors Co. settled a lawsuit over the death of a 29-year-old woman that helped trigger the recall of 2.59 million cars with faulty ignition switches. GM is the target of investigations by state and federal agencies related to the defect. It has resulted in 64 deaths...
general motors, gm, ignition switch lawsuit, safety
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2015-27-13
Friday, 13 Mar 2015 01:27 PM
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