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Senate Panel Schedules GM Ignition Hearing

Destiny Baker2 years ago

The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has announced that the consumer protection and product safety subcommittee will be conducting their second congressional hearing concerning General Motors’ ignition switch recall on July 17.

It will be the fourth congressional hearing concerning the matter.

Will Barra Provide Testimony?

The announcement came Wednesday as the subcommittee’s probe into the manufacturing, distribution and recall of faulty ignition switches used in at least 2.6 million vehicles continues to discover new information.

While Reuters reports that the Senate Commerce Committee has not confirmed who will testify at the July 17 hearing, it is likely that GM CEO Mary Barra, who has appeared at the last three hearings held by House and Senate panels, will be summoned to provide testimony.

During the April hearing, members of the subcommittee grilled Barra over GM’s handling of the faulty switches with Senator Claire McCaskill accusing GM of create a “culture of cover-up” and Senator Richard Blumenthal asking Barra whether she would allow her own children to drive the recalled vehicles.

The subcommittee also called on acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) David Freidman to testify on his agencies failure to properly identify the defect which was first detected by GM engineers in 2001.

It is likely that panel member will choose to address findings cited in a report by U.S. attorney Anton Valukas that was released last month. Anton Valukas was hired by GM to conduct an internal investigation, but the reports integrity has faced scrutiny due to Valukas' previous history representing the automaker.

Details of the General Motors Recall

In February and March of this year, General Motors announced the recall of 2.6 million vehicles equipped with a defective ignition switch that can inadvertently shift out of the “run” position and into the “accessory” or “off” positions.

When this occurs, engine power can be greatly reduced or cut of completely and result in the loss of essential safety features including anti-lock brakes, power steering, and airbag functionality.

On July 1, GM announced that it would be recalling another 8.4 million vehicles for a similar issue which GM has described as “unintended ignition key rotation.”

GM has linked 16 deaths to their initial recall, though other organizations like the Center for Auto Safety place the death toll in the hundreds, and claims that three additional deaths may be linked to the July recall.

Thomas J. Henry Represents 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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