Law360 reviews a list of “Top 5 Multidistrict Litigation Matters,” covering large-scale cases “sure to make headlines in 2017,” all of which include some involvement by Lieff Cabraser. These highly visible multi-district litigation matters include: General Motors Ignition-Switch defects, DePuy Pinnacle Hip injuries, Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) blood thinner injuries, Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Emissions consumer fraud, and Pelvic Surgical Mesh injuries. [Read more…]
As reported by Law360, a former automotive industry engineer testified in a Tuesday bellwether trial that General Motors engineers were forbidden by company policy from utilizing certain terms like “problem” or “bad” (and even terms like “rolling sarcophagus,” which even needing a policy against speaks volumes about issues with the switches themselves) when describing the GM ignition switches. This consequently prevented these engineers from warning officials about the failing ignition switches and product defect.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan stated that the arguments General Motors Co. presented for dismissal of the automaker’s faulty ignition switch trial “fail as a matter of law.” As a result of Furman’s refusal to dismiss plaintiffs’ allegations, the first case against GM will proceed to trial, set to begin January 11. [Read more…]
On June 30, 2014, General Motors unveiled a settlement protocol that would compensate persons injured and families of loved ones killed in accidents triggered by the defective ignition switch in millions of its cars. The defect caused the cars to suddenly lose power, often resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicles, as well as disabling the airbags. It has been estimated that over 300 persons may have died in crashes linked to the defective ignition switch.
General Motors announced on June 30, 2014 the recall of another 8.4 million automobiles, bringing the total number of vehicles recalled by GM this year to over 29 million worldwide. Out of the total number of vehicles recalled, 8.2 million are linked to the faulty key ignition system that causes vehicles to lose power.
Today, General Motors, through Ken Feinberg, a compensation expert hired by GM, announced a plan that sets a $1 million starting point for each death in accidents caused by a defective ignition switch in GM cars. The plan envisions compensation for a much greater number of victims and families whose loved ones died than the 13 deaths that GM has publicly linked to the defect. There is no cap on the amount of money GM has agreed to spend on victims’ payments, and the company will not seek to assert protection from liability involving incidents before its July 10, 2009, bankruptcy restructuring agreement.
On June 16, 2014 General Motors announced the recall of 3.36 million Buick, Chevrolet, and Cadillac cars sold worldwide due to a faulty key design that has been used for years and could suddenly cause the engine to turn off and disable the vehicles’ airbags. Three days earlier, GM also announced the recall of 510,000 Chevrolet Camaros for the same reason.
Two days before Christmas last year, Texas resident Tiffany Adams was driving her 2007 Pontiac Solstice on a clear day, while wearing her seat belt, when the vehicle suddenly went out of control, traveled off the road, and collided with a tree. Ms. Adams suffered a broken neck, broken ribs, and other severe injuries that required the amputation of both her legs.
Despite a number of currently ongoing government criminal and civil investigations, as well as congressional hearings and class action lawsuits, the question of why General Motors failed to fix safety defects in its vehicles over the last 10 or more years remains unanswered.
Following the recall in February of Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles due to faulty ignition switches, the national media has focused on the delay by GM in addressing this significant safety issue for over a decade despite numerous complaints. BusinessWeek reports that GM “is now at the beginning of a potentially years-long road dotted with inquiries, lawsuits, government fines and public skepticism.”