General Motors Seeks to Avoid Products Liability

General Motors has asked the Bankruptcy Court to confirm that it has immunity from products liability claims brought in a class-action lawsuit in California Federal Court.

General Motors (GM) went through a taxpayer-financed bankruptcy reorganization in 2009. The new GM that emerged from that process was offered immunity from product liability claims directed against the former GM entity. That immunity could potentially shield GM from responsibility in a San Francisco class action lawsuit, in which a group of owners of recalled GM cars from nine states are claiming that GM knew about its faulty ignition switch, and should compensate the owners for the reduction in car values arising from the defect. In addition to the class action suit, GM faces liability for thirteen deaths and thirty-two crashes throughout the United States as a result of the defective switch.

While GM has claimed bankruptcy protection from the beginning, some legal analysts believed that GM could not avoid liability if top officials knew about the potential for the class action products liability suit, but hid it from the bankruptcy court in 2009. GM claims that it only learned late last year that the ignition switches could be accidentally moved out of position, thereby disabling the air bags during a crash. The claimants argue, on the other hand, that GM knew it had a problem with the defective switches as early as 2001. Meanwhile, many GM dealerships still do not have the replacement parts, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) has pressured GM to provide “clear and accurate information” on when the new parts would be available to all dealers. Blumenthal has further called on GM to establish a victim’s compensation fund for those injured or whose family members were killed in crashes involving the recalled vehicles. He has also urged owners of the defective vehicles to refrain from driving them until they have been repaired.

The experienced products liability attorneys at the Boesch Law Group have assisted clients in obtaining compensation from major car companies for injuries sustained because of a product defect. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a manufacturing defect or a design defect – whether or not a recall has been issued – it is imperative that you speak with an attorney who has experience going up against the largest automobile manufacturers in the world. Call today for a free consultation with one of our preeminent Los Angeles-based products liability attorneys: (310) 578-7880.

 

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