Wrongful Death Lawsuit that Triggered Ignition-Switch Recall Settled
Conclusion of Melton Case, Beginning of Others
According to the Wall Street Journal, despite the settlement of one high-profile case against GM, other cases are steadily progressing and company executives could still be interrogated about their role in the deadly ignition switch recall.
The parents of crash victim, 29-year-old pediatric nurse Brooke Melton, whose 2011 lawsuit in Georgia helped expose the ignition switch defect, reached a second settlement with GM last week. Attorney Lance Cooper refused to comment on how much GM paid the Melton family, but apparently it was more than the $5 million the family won in its first settlement back in 2013.
Melton's family returned the $5 million and refiled the lawsuit last May after new documents provided proof that the company might have covered up evidence. That case was set to go to trial early next year. Last Tuesday, (the fifth anniversary of their daughter's death) the Meltons finally settled matters with GM.
Cooper praised Melton's family, stating that their lawsuits helped attorneys get exclusive access to millions of documents from GM. Planned depositions of GM executives, including the fifteen employees the company fired as a result of an internal investigation, will advance as part of other lawsuits against the company in state and federal courts. A GM spokesman said the company doesn't publicly disclose information on settlements or pending litigation.
Updates on Death Toll and Other Claims
Families of at least sixty-seven people who perished in crashes caused by defective General Motors ignition switches will get compensation from the company. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was brought on board by GM to compensate the victims’ families, updated the total Monday. An additional one-hundred-and-thirteen injured people also are eligible for compensation.
The company received 4,342 claims by the January 31 deadline. Of those, 1,492 are still under evaluation and 820 were deemed ineligible. According to Feinberg, the rest lacked proper documentation or were deficient.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined GM $35 million for failing to acknowledge and act on the issue, and the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the case for possible criminal charges. GM's internal investigation blamed the large-scale, messy debacle on engineering ignorance and bureaucratic indecisiveness, not a deliberate cover-up.
AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT RESULT
$1.8 MillionExpenses: $20,000.00 | Attorneys Fees: $765,000.00 | Net to Client: $1 Million
AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT RESULTS
$2 MillionExpenses: $78,475.96 | Attorneys Fees: $850,087.96 | Net to Client: $1,071,436.00
AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT RESULT
$2.3 MillionExpenses: $200,000.00 | Attorneys Fees: $900,000.00 | Net to Client: $1.2 Million