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General Motors Fires 15 Over Defective Ignition Switches

Tina Robinson2 years ago

In a press conference held today General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced the company had fired 15 employees as a result of the conclusion of an internal inquiry, according to USA Today.

“Incompetent or Irresponsible in Their Actions”

Barra announced the firing to an assembly of GM employees this morning. She said those let go were “either incompetent or irresponsible in their actions” regarding defective ignition switches that have been linked to 13 deaths and 47 crashes by the automaker. Barra also noted a “disproportionate number” of those fired were in senior or executive positions.

Five additional employees, said Barra, would be disciplined for their failure to take action. Although names of specific individuals weren’t given, Barra did confirm in a press conference afterwards that the two engineers put on paid leave earlier – Gary Altman and Ray DiGiorgio – were amongst those fired.

Valukas Report Revealed “Fundamental Failure”

The firings were the result of a three-month-long internal probe conducted by former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas. Barra described the report as “enormously painful” and said it showed “fundamental failure” when dealing with safety issues.

Overall, Valukas reviewed over 41 million documents. His findings did not uncover any conspiracy or cover-up, but instead revealed a misunderstanding between owner satisfaction and safety. Barra said engineers failed to realize that switch failure could lead to power being cut to the airbags.

GM Will Compensate Victims

Victims and their families have been calling for a GM compensation fund, and today the company confirmed that a GM fund would be made available. Barra announced that “everyone who has lost a loved one or suffered a serious injury,” will be compensated. GM President Dan Amman confirmed that compensation would be available to more than just the 13 victims acknowledged by GM. He added that victims could soon see compensation as soon as Aug. 1. “Rules on eligibility for compensation are being determined independently by [Ken] Feinberg,” said Amman. He also noted that who gets paid and how much would be entirely up to Feinberg.

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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