The first of six bellwether trials for claims remaining against General Motors Co. will begin this month in New York City. The plaintiff in this first trial, Robert S. Scheuer, suffered a vehicular collision in Oklahoma. Mr. Scheuer blames a faulty ignition switch for preventing his airbags from deploying during the crash. It will be the first from hundreds of lawsuits filed against GM after it revealed in 2014 that faulty ignition switches in Chevy Cobalts and other small cars required recall. The ignition switches can slip out of the on position and cause the cars to turn off the air bags, stall, and stop the power steering.
Shockingly, GM knew about the faulty ignition switches for more than a decade, but did not recall them until February 2014. GM issued 84 recalls that covered more than 30 million vehicles. To settle 399 claims, GM paid nearly $600 million out of a fund it created to compensate 124 deaths and 275 injuries caused by the ignition switches. However, this fund rejected more than 90 percent of over 4,000 claims it received.
Yet, in recent weeks, the presiding judge, US District Judge Jesse M. Furman, has prevented GM from settling or forcing dismissal of numerous lawsuits. Additionally, Judge Furman denied GM’s request to exclude evidence and arguments regarding punitive damages. Judge Furman stated that GM’s untimely delay in recalling the defective ignition switches was arguably dangerous conduct that caused a risk of serious injury or death.
Faulty vehicles and parts can cause serious bodily injuries and even death. If you or someone you know was injured or killed by a vehicle or product with faulty parts, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211 for a confidential consultation.