An attorney who used to work on safety issues for General Motors is set to face deposition against the automaker, and GM lawyers are intent on halting discovery in the case.
William Kemp, a former GM attorney on safety issues who was fired in June, defended a case against the parents of Brooke Melton, who was killed in 2010 when her Chevrolet Cobalt ran off a highway. The Cobalt is one of the vehicles affected by the ignition switch recall.
At issue is fraudulent concealment and perjury in the Melton case, according to Lance Cooper of The Cooper Firm, who is planning depositions in the case. Cooper is seeking documents related to the Justice Department’s investigation over the ignition switch defect and its communication with lawyers. Cooper and other lead counsel in this multidistrict litigation (MDL) have maintained that the Melton case focuses on the separate issue of whether GM fraudulently concealed evidence to induce his clients to settle last year. “The discovery we’ve focused on in Melton is related to fraudulent concealment and perjury that went on in Melton case, which of course is unique to Melton,” says Cooper.
GM spokesman James Cain has said in an email to The National Law Journal that there was an “administrative process in place that should be followed” in the MDL, which currently involves 116 lawsuits.
Besides Kemp, depositions are likely to include several other GM employees including engineer Ray DeGiorgio, whose deposition last year in the Melton case was the first time the ignition switch defect was revealed in court.