The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently released an opinion that will allow several tort claims against General Motors related to a faulty ignition switch to proceed. According to a New York Times article discussing the recent opinion, the ruling stands in the face of a 2009 bankruptcy court ruling, which prevented claims against GM from being asserted against the company that was created in the debt restructuring process. The appellate court ruled that the broad bar on future claims against the successor organization to the “old GM” did not apply to claims based on the defective ignition switches that were concealed by the previous company in anticipation of their bankruptcy restructuring.
Defective Ignition Switches in Millions of GM Vehicles Have Endangered the Public
The product liability lawsuits that have been filed against GM over the defective ignition switches allege that the manufacturer knowingly included the defective and dangerous equipment on their vehicles for years after they discovered the problem, and they even attempted to conceal evidence of their knowledge of the faulty equipment. The recall, which has now been expanded to include over 11 million vehicles in several General Motors make and model lines, is related to an issue with the ignition switch on the vehicles.
The ignitions on the affected vehicles may unexpectedly switch into the “off” position, deactivating important safety features on the vehicles, including power steering and airbags. The defective part has been linked to at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries. General Motors has already paid over $2 billion in criminal and civil penalties and settlements related to the issue, and the company expects to pay more in settlements as the plaintiff class expands with additional recalls.
Appellate Court Rejects GM’s Claim for Protection Based on the 2009 Bankruptcy
According to the report, a primary reason that the Second Circuit allowed many of the claims to proceed against General Motors was the fact that the company attempted to conceal the product defect after it had been discovered, putting members of the public in danger. The broad bar on claims against the restructured GM after the bankruptcy could not be used to protect the old GM from avoiding liability that was not discovered prior to the bankruptcy as a result of the company’s concealment, misrepresentation, or fraud. Since the auto company acted in bad faith in trying to cover up the product defect, they are now responsible for additional penalties and expanded liability.
Have You or a Loved one Been Hurt or Killed in a GM Vehicle?
If you or a loved one may have been injured or killed as a result of the General Motors defective ignition switch, or any other defective or dangerous product, the South Florida product liability attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank can help develop your case into what hopefully amounts to a successful claim for damages in a state or federal court. Manufacturers of consumer goods should be held responsible for the products they market, and our attorneys can help you pursue the compensation that you deserve. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we represent clients in product liability and other negligence cases in the Miami area and throughout South Florida. Contact us andto schedule a free consultation. Call toll-free at 877-448-8585 or use our online form to set up a meeting today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Permits Wrongful Death Claim to Proceed after Personal Injury Judgment Had Been Awarded Based on Defendant’s Same Negligent Conduct, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 4, 2016.
State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Medical Malpractice Plaintiff’s Attempt to Extend Statute of Limitations, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 15, 2016.