General Motors will head to trial in the new year over the ignition switch defect plaguing millions of vehicles.
The first case is scheduled for January 11, 2016, after U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said the plaintiff, Robert Scheuer, presented enough evidence for a jury to consider in trial, according to Reuters. A jury will decide whether a defective ignition switch caused or enhanced injury.
Scheuer, the owner of a 2003 Saturn Ion, was forced off the road on an Oklahoma highway, causing him to strike two trees head on. The airbags did not deploy in the 2003 Ion, leading to his lawsuit over the failed deployment.
The bellwether case will set a precedent for others filing the same lawsuit against GM, and will give indication whether a trail could be in filers’ favor, or if a settlement is in order. Six additional bellwether trials are scheduled for 2016.
GM spokesman James Cain told Reuters: “We are fully prepared to go to trial, and introduce evidence showing that the ignition switch issue did not cause the injuries in this accident, or cause the airbags not to deploy.”