Attorneys for GM and for plaintiffs injured by alleged defects in GM cars have made requests to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that the cases be consolidated and centralized before a single judge.
GM announced the recall of 2.6 million vehicles due to a potentially dangerous ignition switch defect in February 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has slapped GM with the maximum $35 million fine for not reporting the defect in a timely fashion. Meanwhile, injured consumers have been filing lawsuits against GM stemming from the ignition defects. To date, the auto manufacturer faces nearly 100 lawsuits in courts around the United States, claiming compensation for injuries and for wrongful deaths.
GM attorneys requested that the filed cases all be sent to the Southern District of New York. GM’s 2009 bankruptcy was handled by a U.S. bankruptcy court in that district and GM lawyers contend this location will allow the judges to easily confer on any relevant issues that may arise. They believe the bankruptcy will play a big role in the litigation, as they claim the bankruptcy will bar any claims for losses before 2009. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that GM’s bankruptcy should not prevent GM lawsuits from moving forward.
Many of the plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that the consolidated cases should be moved to a court in Santa Ana, California where lawsuits against Toyota for acceleration defects have been consolidated. The lawyers contend that because U.S. District Judge James Selna is already familiar with the Toyota litigation, he should also handle the cases against GM. Other lawyers for plaintiffs have made arguments for locations such as Detroit, where GM is headquartered, and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Attorneys predict that many claims for injuries and fatalities have yet to be filed. GM stated that 13 fatalities resulted from the ignition switch defect, while other lawyers claimed to know of many additional deaths. One Texas firm stated that it was aware of 60 deaths.
If you have suffered substantial injury due to an auto defect or any other defective product, contact the experienced products liability lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP today.