MONTGOMERY, ALA. (April 15, 2014) – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a personal injury lawsuit in Indiana on behalf of Josh Cull and Samantha Zollman. Both of our clients were seriously injured in a single-car crash in Clark County, Ind., on Oct. 31, 2012. Josh Cull was driving his 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and was operating his vehicle safely when the defective ignition switch inadvertently moved out of the “run” position. This disabled the power steering, power brakes and airbag system. In the subsequent crash, both driver and passenger front airbags failed to deploy. As a result, both the driver and passenger suffered severe facial injuries. Josh Cull lost his right eye. His passenger, Samantha Zollman, more than a year later, is still undergoing facial reconstructive surgeries. Representing the Plaintiffs are Beasley Allen lawyers Jere Beasley, Cole Portis and Mike Andrews, together with David Stewart from the Stewart and Stewart firm, which is located in Carmel, Ind.
The lawsuit is the second filed by Beasley Allen related to the recent recall by General Motors (GM) that addresses the 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. Beasley Allen will be filing about 13 additional lawsuits related to the GM ignition defect very soon.
“Josh Cull was traveling at the speed limit when he was involved in a single-vehicle accident. It was the type of crash a person ordinarily walks away from with only minimal injuries. But because of the ignition switch defect that disabled the power steering, power brakes and the airbags, Josh and Samantha sustained serious permanent injuries. They are among the hundreds of victims who trusted GM to make and sell safe vehicles,” said Beasley Allen Shareholder Mike Andrews.
“Today, we are calling on General Motors to waive any possible defense that may come from Old GM’s filing of bankruptcy. The automaker was bailed out by American taxpayers, and in the process it failed to disclose the ignition defect, the deaths and the knowledge of liability to either the public or the bankruptcy court. Thus the bankruptcy judge was unaware of the known ignition defect that existed in a number of GM vehicles – a defect that has caused the loss of more than 300 lives according to safety experts – and the company should now be held accountable for its grossly bad behavior,” Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere Beasley said. “While the lawsuits that we have filed thus far aren’t affected by the bankruptcy, there will be others that occurred prior to the bankruptcy that will be affected unless the bankruptcy judge takes action to protect GM’s victims. It would be a miscarriage of justice to allow GM to hide behind the shield of the bankruptcy court. We are asking GM to do the right thing, both by the taxpayers and the victims of its wrongdoing, and not use any bankruptcy defense.”
“I have written Mary Barra, the GM CEO, and asked her to waive any bankruptcy defense it may have on the pre-bankruptcy claims. If GM refuses to waive these defenses, in the alternative I have requested GM to set up a court-supervised monetary fund to compensate its victims,” Beasley added.
View the press conference announcing the lawsuit
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 13 deaths to the faulty ignition switch, but a new study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety indicates the death toll could exceed 300.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are General Motors LLC, Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC; Delphi Automotive PLC; Delphi Automotive LLC; Chandler Chevrolet and Jim Hadley Chevrolet. The lawsuit was filed in Clark County, Indiana, on April 14, 2014.
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