When General Motors emerged from bankruptcy, the automaker reemerged as the “New GM.” Now the New GM is seeking immunity from accident and economic-loss claims related to products made under “Old GM.” The automaker will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber to dismiss these claims sometime before August 11.
Of course, the company has made one big exception to this: the much-publicized ignition switch defect in small cars built by the Old GM. CEO Mary Barra has made it clear that New GM will honor Old GM’s liability in this instance, warning “that she will fight all claims except for those arising from switch-based accidents,” writes Automotive News. According to GM, the company is currently fighting over 100 lawsuits unrelated to faulty ignition switches in cars built by Old GM.
General Motors was encouraged by the Treasury to “slough off as many liabilities as possible to aid a turnaround” back when the company came out of bankruptcy in 2009. While defective cars made under New GM are the responsibility of the manufacturer, Gerber ruled at the time that “[The New] GM didn’t have to pay compensation or punitive damages for [Old GM’s] faults.”
As AN notes, General Motors’ request will significantly expand Gerber’s role in the litigation as he will be forced “to ordain the future of almost all suits tied to Old GM cars.” Whatever is ruled, it will have no affect on the ignition-switch-related claims that GM will begin accepting on August 1.