We have recently posted on the many recalls that General Motors has issued on their vehicles that has taken center stage for the auto maker and its reputation. Most Americans do not have a personal connection with the recalls, but some families have suffered tragic losses due to defects that GM is alleged to have known about and covered up. GM says it intends to ensure that its corporate culture changes. The sheer number of recalls and defective parts is staggering. But apparently the American public believes in their future and is still buying their vehicles.
The recalls and the deaths that resulted from a defective ignition switch has literally come home to the Atlanta area. The parents of a deceased woman whose life was allegedly lost due to the defective ignition switch is front and center local news. The Cobb County parents have returned to the state court and their case is now before a Cobb County state court judge. Its pathway home is an interesting procedural journey that includes their recent win in federal court. A Georgia federal district judge remanded their case back to Cobb County. His ruling rejected the argument made by GM that the couple had joined a local GM dealer solely for the purpose of getting state court jurisdiction over the case and seeking to avoid federal jurisdiction. Although the couple received $5 million in a settlement with GM, they are alleging that since the settlement was reached much more information has been revealed. This information reveals more about the company’s knowledge of the ignition switch defect, and other defects. More information has also come to light about GM’s attempts to cover up what allegedly they knew was a dangerous defect in the ignition switch that the couple believes caused their daughter’s death.
The young nurse died in an accident that was a result of the ignition switch in her vehicle turning off and suddenly stopping her vehicle as she drove. This is the same defect that has taken the life of a number of others. The local dealership is alleged to have represented that the ignition switch in the deceased woman’s vehicle was repaired. The federal court agreed with the grieving parents, that the claim they have made against the local dealership is sufficiently tied to the claims against GM to warrant the state court’s jurisdiction. GM had alleged that naming the local dealership was a ploy to keep state court jurisdiction.
The case had been settled a year ago. The couple wants to return the settlement funds to the company and is seeking to litigate the case with the information that GM actually knew of the defect and covered-up their knowledge of this particular defect, along with other defects. There is precedent for allowing parties to return to the courts for relief when a party learns that material evidence that could have changed the outcome of a settlement or a case, comes to light. Just in the past year, there have been significant developments in the understanding of what GM actually knew about defects with their vehicles and its parts. This evidence was not provided at the time the parents agreed to settle their daughter’s case. The federal government has been involved in pursuing GM through Congressional investigations. The current GM leadership has testified before Congress on what the company knew and when. The company has made a commitment to ensure that its vehicles are safe and to change the culture that allowed these defects to be hidden to the American driving public. It is expected that this case will be closely watched as it moves forward in Cobb County.
At Scholle Law, we provide victims of motor vehicle accidents with compassion and the highest rated competency. When tragedy strikes a family after a fatal accident, it is important that the most competent legal and medical support is found quickly. For a free consultation, please contact our law firm at any time.