MONTGOMERY, ALA. (March 24, 2014) – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the Estate of Aubrey Wallace Williams. Ms. Williams, a 32-year-old mother of two, was fatally injured on Dec. 4, 2013, while driving her 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt on Alabama Highway 64 in Lauderdale County, Ala. While operating her Cobalt, the ignition switch failed resulting in a complete loss of power. This caused the vehicle to become uncontrollable, cross into the westbound lane and collide with an oncoming 18-wheeler log truck. Ms. Williams was killed instantly. Representing the Plaintiff are Beasley Allen lawyers Jere L. Beasley, J. Cole Portis and Richard D. Morrison, together with Thomas. W. McCutcheon, Jr., and Joel R. Hamner of the firm McCutcheon & Hamner, P.C., in Florence, Ala.
The lawsuit is related to a recent recall announced by General Motors (GM) that addresses an ignition switch problem that allows the key to unintentionally slip from the “run” to “off” or “accessory” position while the vehicle is being operated. The ignition defect can cause the sudden loss of engine power, braking and steering, creating a hazardous emergency situation.
Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere L. Beasley says “GM’s conduct is inexcusable. GM was fully aware of the safety issues the ignition switch would cause to its customers for well over a decade before instituting this recall. They deliberately chose to ignore fixes for the problem because of costs, exposing people like Ms. Williams to dangerous and fatal situations. While we still don’t know how many injuries and deaths have already resulted from GM’s wrongful conduct, we do know GM’s cover-up of this safety hazard is as bad as we have seen. It will rival the conduct of Toyota in how that automaker dealt with its sudden acceleration safety issues. GM is guilty of a callous disregard for safety and for human life and must now be held totally accountable for the grief and misery it has caused.”
GM recalled about 780,000 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles on Feb. 13. Twelve days later, it expanded the recall to include an additional 590,000 model-year 2003-07 Saturn Ion, Chevy HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky vehicles. Court documents and other evidence reveal that GM knew about the ignition switch problem as early as 2001. However, GM rejected several design changes and solutions that were recommended by its own engineers on numerous occasions because of the cost and the time it would take to make the changes.
The company says it has linked 31 crashes and 12 deaths to the faulty ignition switch, but a new study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety indicates the death toll could be as high as 303. “I believe those numbers are much more accurate than the number of deaths GM admits to,” Mr. Beasley says.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are General Motors LLC, Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC; Delphi Automotive PLC; Delphi Automotive LLC; Long-Lewis Ford of the Shoals, Inc.; and Champion Chevrolet, Inc. The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court in and for Lauderdale County, Ala., 41-CV-2014-900140.
Read the complaint.
Special Order Directed to General Motors LLC
Chevrolet Cobalt Technical Service Bulletin – Key Difficult to Remove, Binds or Sticks
Chevrolet Cobalt Technical Service Bulletin – Inadvertent Turning of Ignition Lock Cylinder
Chevrolet Cobalt Technical Service Bulletin – Ignition Key Stuck
GM Letter to NHTSA
The GM Cover Up
In The News
Tuscaloosa News – GM sued over ignition switch in Alabama fatality
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama man sues GM over ignition switch failure
Sacramento Bee – GM sued over ignition switch in Alabama fatality
Greenfield Reporter – GM sued over ignition switch in fatal collision that killed Alabama woman
USA Today - GM sued over December fatal crash in Alabama
Insurance Journal - More GM Vehicles Faulty Than In Recall Claims California Lawsuit