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GM Wrongful Death Lawsuit Refiled Alleging Fraud

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Tina Robinson3 years ago

General Motors’ legal troubles stemming from the ignition switch recall continue as attorneys for the family of Brooke Melton filed a complaint asking a judge to reopen a wrongful death suit settled by GM last year. According to Automotive News, the car maker fraudulently withheld information.

More about the Melton Suit

Brooke Melton as killed in a car crash in 2010 when her GM lost power due to a defective ignition switch. Melton’s 2005 Chevy Cobalt was one of 2.6 million vehicles installed with faulty switches that could cause the engine to stall, brake failure and steering defects.

GM settled the case out of court, but the new complaint alleges the company withheld information. Last year GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio testified under oath that he had no knowledge of any changes to the switches. Documents released as part of a congressional investigation into the recall prove that DeGiorgio was the one who authorized a switch redesign without assigning a new part number.

The Melton case is also significant because it was one of the first cases that linked the failure of airbags to deploy in the older compact vehicles to the faulty switches. Reopening the case could allow the Melton family to recover more money as well as potentially bring forward new information about the company’s actions.

Legal Action Against GM

The latest filing is part of numerous legal actions taken against GM in the aftermath of February’s massive recall. Over 60 proposed class action suits have been filed by victims and their families seeking damages. One option that GM is believed to be exploring is the establishment of a GM compensation fund. The company hired attorney Ken Feinberg in April to explore their options for such a fund.

Last week, attorney Thomas J. Henry filed a suit against GM for the injuries sustained in 2009 by then one-year-old Trenton Buzard. Buzard, who is now permanently disabled, was the sole survivor of a crash involving a Chevy Cobalt driven by his great-grandmother. The airbags failed to deploy, and investigators determined the ignition switch had malfunctioned just prior to the crash.


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