A case regarding the death of a woman driving a car with defective ignition switch that was settled last September is being revived by lawyers because they now claim that one of the General Motors engineers lied under oath, giving “sufficient cause” to refile the case.
Attorneys Lance Cooper and Jere Beasley represent the parents of Brooke Melton, who died in 2011 when the switch on her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt apparently shifted into the accessory position and cut power to the engine, anti-lock brakes, power steering, and airbags. Brooke skidded off the wet road and crashed. Her accident was one of 13 deaths linked to faulty ignition switches, which has led General Motors to recall 2.6 million vehicles including the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Pontiac Solstice and G5, and Saturn Ion and Sky built from model years 2003-07.
Cooper has accused General Motors engineer Ray DeGiorgio of committing perjury when he said he was not aware of changes to ignition switches. However, documents show GM changed the design of the ignition switch in 2005. “The Meltons would not have settled their case if they had known of the perjury and concealment of critical evidence. It is now apparent that GM’s plan was to resolve the Meltons’ claims before disclosing the Cobalt ignition switch design changes,” says Cooper.
General Motors responded in a statement, “As an initial matter, General Motors … denies the assertion that GM fraudulently concealed relevant and critical facts in connection with the Melton matter. And GM denies it engaged in any improper behavior in that action.”
Cooper and Beasley said in a statement that they asked General Motors to rescind the settlement for an undisclosed sum, but that GM refused.