The bankruptcy judge who is overseeing legal proceedings in regards to General Motors’ faulty ignition switch problems has announced he will retire from the bench, Automotive News reports. Robert Gerber, the same judge who oversaw the GM’s 2009 financial reorganization, will enter “recall status,” allowing him to serve in proceedings which have yet to conclude.
Gerber’s “recall status” will allow him to remain on the bench through 2015, meaning the GM case will not be immediately affected by the move. The court will have to hire a new judge to fill Gerber’s slot in other proceedings, the third new judgeship in less than a year in NY’s busy bankruptcy court.
When New GM was being set up, Gerber relieved the automaker from most of its existing liabilities, leaving them behind with Old GM. Now plaintiffs seeking monetary reimbursement for the lost value of their cars with faulty ignition switches argue GM knew about the defective switches when it underwent bankruptcy proceedings, which they say constitutes bankruptcy fraud.
Gerber is set to make a decision in the case sometime next year. GM argued earlier this month that he freed the company from responsibility for past errors when he signed off on its bailout. Anton Valukas’ internal report on GM revealed engineers and other legal employees may have known about the defect as early as 10 years ago.