Ruling opens opportunity for justice for additional GM ignition switch victims
GM lost its bid Monday to bar hundreds of ignition-switch lawsuits when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the automaker’s appeal claiming it isn’t liable for pre-bankruptcy filings.
Without comment, the Supreme Court left intact last year’s ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that General Motors remains responsible for injury, death, and diminished-value claims that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy.
The lower court found that GM was still responsible for the older claims because it knew about the ignition switch defect for more than a decade but concealed it from the bankruptcy court and its customers.
GM appealed the 2nd Circuit Court’s ruling by arguing that “well-established bankruptcy law allowed the newly reorganized GM to obtain the old company’s assets ‘free and clear’ of liabilities,” according to the Associated Press.
GM began recalling about 2.6 million vehicles in 2014 over the deadly defect, which allowed the ignition to be jostled into the off or accessory position with the vehicle in motion, causing it to lose power steering, speed, anti-lock brakes, and airbag protection. These faulty ignition switches caused scores of GM cars to crash.
The GM ignition switch defect has been liked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries. The automaker has already paid about $2 billion to settle civil complaints and criminal charges in connection to the ignition switch debacle.
The 2nd Circuit’s ruling reversed a ruling by a U.S. bankruptcy judge in 2015, who drew a line between the liabilities of the pre-bankruptcy “Old GM” and the post-bankruptcy “New GM.” This effectively shielded the “New GM” from any claims involving vehicles and accidents before its June 2009 bankruptcy.
According to the AP, a lawyer for several of the pre-bankruptcy plaintiffs said the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear GM’s appeal “exposes GM to around 1,000 additional lawsuits and $5 billion to $10 billion in liabilities.”
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Beasley Allen and The Cooper Firm have the privilege of representing individuals and families throughout the country who were harmed by ignition switch defects in GM vehicles. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you on any GM ignition switch cases you now have or may have in the future. For more information about how this ruling may affect your claims, contact Beasley Allen at 334-269-2343 or toll free at 800-898-2034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For media inquires, contact Helen Taylor at Helen.Taylor@beasleyallen.com.