Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee, representing Tyson Sumners on behalf of his wife, Tiffany Sumners, who was killed; and Martha Dickey, as next friend and custodian of Grayson June Dickey, who was seriously injured in an automobile crash related to the defective General Motors (GM) ignition switch. The complaint alleges the ignition switch defect led to the car shutting off during highway operation, which resulted in Mrs. Sumners losing control of the vehicle and crashing. The vehicle burned on impact, killing Mrs. Sumners and seriously injuring Grayson Dickey. Representing the Plaintiffs are Beasley Allen lawyers Jere Beasley, Cole Portis and Mike Andrews, together with Lance Cooper of The Cooper Firm from Atlanta and Blair Durham from the Durham & Dread Firm in Nashville, Tenn. The case was filed in state court in Pulaski, Tenn.
“General Motors knew it had a serious defect in its vehicles. It hid both the defect and the fact that hundreds of innocent victims were being killed from the public and even from the federal government. Now the automaker must be held accountable for its wrongdoing.” Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere Beasley said. “GM took billions of taxpayer dollars, betrayed the American people and caused countless deaths and serious injuries. We will do our very best to let a Tennessee jury learn what GM knew, when they knew it, and then what GM did and failed to do. Once they hear the truth I am confident the jurors will be outraged. Our mission in this case is to represent the family of Tiffany Sumners to the best of our ability, to take care of them and also to send a strong message to the bosses at GM that the sort of conduct the juror will hear in this case won’t be tolerated.”
This is the most recent lawsuit filed by Beasley Allen related to the GM recall for 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 causes the sudden loss of engine power, braking and steering, creating a hazardous emergency situation. The air bag system is also disabled and rendered useless.
More lawsuits are expected to be filed relating to the GM ignition switch defect. Beasley Allen recently announced its partnership with Lance Cooper and The Cooper Firm, based in Atlanta, Ga., to handle product liability claims against GM. Lance Cooper is the attorney who discovered the automaker’s faulty ignition switch and subsequent cover-up while working on a wrongful death lawsuit in 2011. The two firms will represent victims in cases involving serious personal injury and/or death caused by the ignition switch defect.
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. It was later expanded again to include model-year 2006-2011 Chevy HHRs. The recall now encompasses 2.6 million 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 13 deaths to the faulty ignition switch, but an independent study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety indicates the death toll exceeds 300.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are General Motors LLC, Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC; Delphi Automotive PLC; Delphi Automotive LLC; and AutoFair Chevrolet. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Pulaski, Tenn., on May 8, 2014.