A court ruling will force General Motors to face some ignition switch lawsuits that it believed were already laid to rest.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has ruled that barring certain plaintiffs from suing GM over faulty ignition switches is a violation of their constitutional rights to due process. The barred lawsuits stem from those who crashed cars before 2009 as a result of the faulty switch, which can cause certain small GM cars to lose power which disables the power steering and airbags.
In 2015, now retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber ruled that “New GM,” which was formed in 2009, couldn’t be sued over the actions of “Old GM,” which means that those affected by ignition-switch crashes that came before 2009 were barred from suing the company.
The court said that “Old GM — if reasonably diligent — surely should have known about the defect,” which is one of the reasons the company is being held liable.
In total, 124 deaths and 275 injuries have officially been linked to the faulty ignition switch, though thanks to these new lawsuits, that number may grow. GM has already paid out $2 billion in civil and criminal penalties along with settlements to those hurt or killed as a result of the switch.
“The Second Circuit’s ruling neither addresses nor decides the merits of any claims,” said GM spokesman James Cain. “Many of the claims we face have been brought on behalf of car owners who want to be compensated even though they have not suffered any loss.”
[Source: Automotive News]
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