Lawsuits against General Motors from customers who say their vehicles lost value following the automaker’s ignition switch safety recall have been consolidated in court under the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, USA Today reports. GM has been pushing for the countrywide suits to be consolidated in Manhattan court, where a bankruptcy judge also approved its reorganization in 2009.
GM’s small victory might be all for none, though. The “diminished value” cases may be unable to proceed if a bankruptcy judge finds the automaker is protected from that type of liability by its previous bankruptcy reorganization.
Plaintiffs in the suits originally wanted the cases consolidated in California so the same judge who handled the cases against Toyota after its controversial unintended acceleration recall would hear their cases. GM wanted the case moved to New York due to its recent bankruptcy proceedings and their potential affect on the lawsuit cases.
“This order affirms what we’ve maintained all along. All cases should be transferred to the Southern District of New York, which is in the best position to coordinate with the bankruptcy court’s proceedings,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin.
The lawsuits are based on the idea that the plaintiff’s cars, which are mix of Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other small cars with faulty ignition switches, have lost significant value due to the widely publicized safety recall. Kelley Blue Book, who tracks used car values, says the used values of all model year Chevrolet Cobalts “are all virtually identical to the start of the year.”