As anticipated, additional lawsuits against General Motors over its faulty ignition switches are moving forward. GM had sought to bar additional lawsuits, claiming it was entitled to a “bankruptcy shield,” that made it not liable for financial obligations that preceded its emergence from bankruptcy. The United States Supreme Court recently refused to hear GM’s appeal on that matter.
Pending cases from around the country have been consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. GM had sought to dismiss a suit by an Arizona man who was injured when his 2009 Chevrolet HHR shut down while he was driving and caused him to crash into the rear of another vehicle.
At issue in this case is whether the ignition switch in the HHR was one of the defective switches. The majority of the cases against GM involved a “423” switch, while this vehicle had a “190” switch. The judge presiding over the consolidated cases pointed out that the 2009 HHR was among the vehicles recalled by GM, and ruled that there was sufficient evidence to be argued that could result in a jury finding in the driver’s favor.
The judge also took issue with GM’s argument that it had no duty to warn purchasers of the vehicles about the potential dangers of the switches. GM claimed that consumer protection laws do not impose such a duty on companies that purchase the assets of others.
The judge said that GM’s argument is absurd because “taken to its logical conclusion,” it presumes that even if post-bankruptcy GM had found on its own that the HHR was “prone to spontaneous combustion,” it would have no duty to warn owners. He found that to be inconsistent with Arizona law.
This case is the leading edge of the many lawsuits against GM that are still pending. This ruling indicates that the company will not easily avoid being brought to trial for damages to drivers and owners of the recalled vehicles. Stay tuned; there will be more to come.
If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident with a GM vehicle, you may have a case against GM. The attorneys at the Alexander Law Group, LLP can help, contact the attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation.