Judge Dismisses General Motors Lawsuit, Death Toll Now Over 100

Judge Dismisses General Motors Lawsuit, Death Toll Now Over 100
GMC – classic car show mike krzeszak / Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

General Motors (GM) is quite pleased after Judge Sam Glasscock in Delaware dismissed a lawsuit from its shareholders, UPI has learned. The lawsuit is actually in connection to a massive recall of various GM vehicles following a series of ignition switch defects. The plaintiff shareholders had alleged that the General Motors’ directors have breached their respective duties by not addressing the risks. Moreover, they hope to recoup losses resulting from lawsuits, fines, expenses and damages.


In response to this, Judge Glasscock has declared that the GM board “did not consciously fail to monitor” operation in the company. In addition, he also finds that the shareholders “have failed to raise a reasonable doubt that GM’s directors acted in good faith or otherwise face a substantial likelihood of personal liability in connection with the faulty ignition switches.”

In response to the case dismissal, GM’s Jim Cain had issued a statement to UPI saying, “The Delaware Court properly dismissed the complaint because GM’s board of directors did its job in exercising oversight over the company.” GM is reportedly facing similar court cases in Michigan.

Meanwhile, what GM is currently giving extensive oversight would be the recall that results from their faulty ignition switches. As detailed in the GM Ignition Recall Safety Information website, the vehicles affected by the said recall include the Buick Lacrosse 2005 to 2009 models, Buick Lucerne 2006 to 2011 models, Cadillac CTS 2003 to 2011 models, Cadillac Deville 2000 to 2005 models, Cadillac DTS 2006 to 2011 models, Cadillac SRX 2004 to 2006 models, Chevrolet Camaro 2010 to 2014 models, Chevrolet Cobalt 2005 to 2010 models, Chevrolet 2005 to 2010 models, Chevrolet Impala 2000 to 2014 models, Chevrolet Malibu 1997 to 2005 models, Chevrolet Monte Carlo 2000 to 2007 models, Oldsmobile Alero 1999 to 2004 models, Oldsmobile Intrigue 1998 to 2002 models, Pontiac G5 2007 to 2010 models, Pontiac Grand AM 1999 to 2005 models, Pontiac Grand Prix 2004 to 2008 models, Pontiac Solstice 2006 to 2010 models, Saturn Ion 2003 to 2007 models and Saturn Sky 2007 to 2010 models.

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According to Gant Daily, the said failed ignition switch would slip from on to off. And as the engine switches off, it disables the power brakes, power steering as well as the vehicle’s airbags. This reportedly can happen even while car was still in motion. As federal watchdog investigators stated in a letter to GM and the Highway Safety Administration, “This is a safety/recall issue if there ever was one … The problem is the ignition turn switch is poorly installed. Even with the slightest touch, the car will shut off while in motion.”

Last year, General Motors managed to recall as much as 9 million of the defective and largely unsafe vehicles. So far, Fox Business has estimated the death toll due to GM’s faulty ignition switches at 119. Moreover, it has also reportedly caused injuries to as much as 243 people. However, New York Times suggests that the number could be much greater as GM had only started recalling vehicles last year even if they had known about the defect for years. In fact, the report alleged that the said defect has been kept hidden for about a decade. Among the lead lawyers for the consolidated group of lawsuits against GM is Robert Hilliard who told the New York Times, “The success of the cover-up for over a decade leaves most of the victims unaccounted for. One hundred is not even the tip of the iceberg.”

Meanwhile, Gant Daily has also reported that the Office of the Inspector General believes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators may also be partly to blame for the recall delay. In fact, the government report has found that the said federal investigators had failed to follow up on leads with regard to faulty switches that go as far back as 2003. They had allegedly ignored warnings, complaints and even, clues with regard to this.

Meanwhile, GM has appointed attorney Kenneth Feinberg to handle compensation for the victims of its faulty vehicles. Victim’s families compensation reportedly amounted to at least $1 million each. He expected to make offers to 243 people who suffered injuries resulting from the faulty ignition switches. As of March 31, GM has reportedly already paid $200 million to settle some of the claims filed with Feinberg.

By the end of January this year, Feinberg had reportedly received 4,342 claims. An estimated 90% of them were reportedly deemed deficient or found ineligible. Meanwhile, 81 of the claims are still under review.