The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that lawsuits over defective ignition switches can proceed against General Motors. The defective switches caused airbags to not deploy, leading to 124 deaths and 275 injuries.
The appeals court ruling overturns a bankruptcy judge’s decision protecting GM from lawsuits because of its 2009 bankruptcy.
The ruling opens the door for class-action lawsuits from consumers who claim the ignition switches hurt the value of their cars. The decision could also help revive hundreds of lawsuits from potential victims who either could not get deals from GM or who decided to take their chances in court rather than accept settlements.
GM has already paid out nearly $595 in settlements to victims of the faulty switches, with some topping $1 million.
How The Court Made Its Decision
The second circuit decided that GM’s bankruptcy did not protect it from lawsuits because the company failed to alert consumers to the defective switches during bankruptcy proceedings. GM’s failure to alert consumers denied them an adequate opportunity to obtain compensation.
The second circuit also found that GM knew or should have known about the switches, as the company has acknowledged on multiple occasions that it did not fix the switches for more than 10 years.
GM was essentially asking that the court reward a company that concealed something from consumers, according to the appeals court panel.
Cars With Defective Ignition Switches
GM recalled cars with the defective ignition switches in 2014, including:
- 2007-2010 Saturn Sky
- 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
- 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
- 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or been killed because of a defective ignition switch in a GM vehicle, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact the personal injury lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy to learn more about your legal options.