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Barra, Valukas Summoned for More Congressional Hearings

Destiny Baker3 years ago

Autonews reports that both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee have announced plans to hold additional hearings, during which they will interview General Motors' CEO Mary Barra and independent investigator Anton Valukas.

Hearings to Address Valukas Investigation Report

The two congressional committees conducted back-to-back hearings on April 1 and April 2, during which Barra and the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), David Freidman testified about their knowledge of defective ignition switches that were equipped in 2.6 million GM vehicles.

The committees now plan to address an internal investigation into the faulty switches and subsequent recall that was completed by Valukas this week.

The hearings are currently planned for “later this summer” as committee members wish to review all the documents and the final report filed by Valukas as part of his investigation.

During previous hearings, Senators and House Representatives accused GM of creating a work environment which discouraged employees from reporting problems, leading to what Senator Claire McCaskill deemed “a culture of cover-up.”

In a press conference held Thursday morning, Barra claimed that Valukas' investigation had uncovered instances of negligence and incompetence, but there was no evidence that GM executives actively withheld or concealed information concerning the faulty switches or the resulting deaths.

About the General Motors Ignition Switch Recall

Between February and March of 2014, General Motors recalled a total of 2.6 million vehicles affected by the faulty ignition switches which could shift out of the “run” position and into the “accessory” or “off” positions, even when the car was being driven.

When a switch made this shift, electrical power to the engine would be suddenly reduced or cut off completely, resulting in the loss of essential safety features including antilock brakes, power steering, and airbags.

In total, GM has acknowledged 13 deaths and more than 40 collisions that were attributed to the faulty switches; however, other agencies have stated that the true fatality rate is much higher.

GM has now promised to set up a compensation fund led by “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg to aid the victims and families of victims affected by the recall. The automaker has not, however, determined the scope of the fund or how much money will be awarded to the victims.

Vehicles affected by the recall include:

Thomas J. Henry Representing More than 1,000 GM Recall Victims

Thomas J. Henry is representing more than 1,000 GM recall victims across the United States and has been investigating injuries and deaths linked to the recall since day one. The firm launched a nationwide media investigation into the recall in April, which brought forth thousands of affected individuals who had information critical to the investigation – information that the firm has handed over to federal agencies also investigating GM’s sluggish response the recall.

As more and more individuals have flocked to Thomas J. Henry for representation, the firm has continued to push GM for a victim settlement fund. The firm has had several talks with GM’s victim compensation expert Ken Feinberg regarding appropriate victim compensation for the thousands affected by a fatal design flaw in ignition switches which left numerous dead and countless others seriously injured. 

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