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General Motors Hit with Racketeering Allegations in Faulty Ignition-Switch Litigation

Plaintiffs suing General Motors Co in connection with faulty ignition switches in its cars have added civil racketeering (RICO) allegations in an amended complaint recently filed in federal court in Manhattan. The plaintiffs accuse the company of conspiring with a law firm and a claims-management company to conceal the defect, which has been linked to 114 deaths.

The plaintiffs seek over $10 billion in damages for deaths, injuries, and economic damages related to the loss in vehicle value. According to Reuters, the amended complaint “proposes certification of a class encompassing anyone who owned or leased a GM-branded car from when the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 through 2014, as well as anyone who purchased a car from post-bankruptcy GM.” In addition to the scores of people injured or killed as a result of the defect, the plaintiffs allege that the resulting scandal has tarnished GM’s brand and caused vehicles to lose as much as $4,000 in value. More than 20 million vehicle owners may be implicated if the plaintiffs are successful.

The amended complaint alleges that GM, its outside law firm, King & Spalding, and its claims-management company, ESIS, knew about the ignition-switch defect but covered it up. The racketeering statute involved was originally designed for fighting organized crime but has since been expanded in both criminal and civil matters to apply to a broad range of misconduct.

At Abraham Watkins, we have been representing plaintiffs in product liability actions for over 65 years. If you or someone you know has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, contact one of our attorneys now at 713-396-3964.


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