CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (June 3, 2014) — As the public awaits answers promised in GM’s “independent” internal investigation into the fatal ignition switch recall, attorneys handling injury and death cases related to the defective vehicles claim that the report by Anton Valukas will be perverted by Valukas’ deep ties to the company and should be dismissed as a self-serving investigation by GM’s own lawyer.
“This is a case of the fox guarding the hen house,” lead attorney Thomas J. Henry stated. “Valukas and other members of his law firm actually worked for GM during the time that the alleged cover up took place. How can this be called an ‘independent investigation’ if the very people conducting the investigation worked for GM during the period that is being investigated,” he questioned.
“This appears to be an orchestrated white wash by lawyers closely connected to GM for nearly a decade,” he added.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Mary Barra asked Valukas to handle the investigation, reportedly stating that the former Assistant U.S. Attorney would provide an “unvarnished” report of GM’s actions leading up to the recall. Valukas should be investigating his own law firm’s Of Counsel,Robert Osborne, former general counsel and Vice President of GM from 2006-2009.
Valukas’ report is expected to answer important questions about why it took more than a decade for GM to address a fatal design flaw in the ignition switch of 2.6 million small cars. The company has admitted that engineers were aware of the problem as far back as 2001.
Anton Valukas, head of GM’s internal probe into the delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles linked to at least 13 deaths, has deep ties to GM. He and his firm have been working with the company for nearly 10 years. His law firm, Jenner & Block, represented GM in various matters during the last decade, a period in which GM is currently being investigated for not reporting ignition switch defects in certain Chevy, Saturn, and Pontiac vehicles.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Valukas himself even served as lead counsel for the “Old GM” during a four-year-long SEC investigation in 2009 while his colleague, Robert Osborne, left Jenner & Block from 2006-2009 to serve as GM’s general counsel and Vice President. Jenner & Block then guided the company through its bankruptcy and restructuring, and even represented GM in its IPO in 2010.
“Valukas’ firm, Jenner & Block, collected millions in their bankruptcy work at a time when many speculate that the company knew about problems with the ignition switches. Their role as attorneys for GM during the time period in question makes it unlikely that these lawyers could be objective. They would make better witnesses than ‘objective’ investigators,” Thomas J. Henry stated.
“These so-called independent investigators were hand-picked by GM because they have worked side by side with the company for years. There is no way these individuals can offer an unbiased, unvarnished report on the failures at GM which led to the ignition switch recall. Our victims deserve an investigation by true outsiders, not law firms and lawyers who have already made million off of GM,” he added.
Thomas J. Henry is a national injury firm representing GM recall victims in nearly every state in the U.S. The firm is currently representing more than 1,000 people who died, family members who lost loved ones, serious injury victims, and others harmed by the GM ignition switch recall.
One of the largest personal injury firms in the United States, Thomas J. Henry has been representing injured victims nationwide for more than 25 years. The firm handles wrongful death, on the job injury, child injury, pharmaceutical litigation, product liability, catastrophic injury, and company vehicle and 18-wheeler accident cases.
The firm was recently recognized by the National Law Journal for having one of the Top 100 verdicts in the country in 2013 and by Texas Lawyer for having three of the top Texas verdicts for the year. These cases involved work injuries and company vehicle accidents.