U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman told lawyers Monday he will encourage settlements in the more than 100 lawsuits being filed against General Motors for defective ignition switches found in millions of its small cars, according to the Associated Press. Furman was chosen to preside over the cases after they were consolidated in New York court due to their similarities.
Furman said he’ll be sure not to impede upon a bankruptcy judge’s inquiry, who is currently deciding whether or not GM’s bankruptcy in 2009 protects it from economic damages claims, but will still proceed with the litigation as much as possible. The automaker’s government-funded bankruptcy left it immune of old lawsuits and other claims as the cases remained with “old GM”.
GM had a number of lawsuits filed against it after it recalled 2.6 million small cars for a faulty ignition switches. GM knew the switches may be defective for years before recalling the cars earlier this year. The switch is responsible for at least 13 confirmed deaths and 54 crashes.
GM says that 983 different plaintiffs have filed 109 lawsuits against the company. About a dozen are for personal injury claims, while the rest say the recall made their car’s value decrease and are claiming economic losses.