Federal Law Gaps Blamed For No Individual-Criminal Charges With General Motors Executives19
There are many lawyers and critics of General Motors who say the $900 million deferred prosecution deal didn’t go far enough in the ignition-switch scandal that has plagued the automaker.
The chief U.S. prosecutor in Manhattan says “siloing” within GM made it difficult to pin individuals in the criminal investigation, which began in 2014.
Responding on behalf of victims and safety advocates criticisms, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, said he understands the calls to hold specific people accountable for the lapse in judgement, and cover-ups that followed the ignition-switch fallout.
“We’re not done, and it remains possible that we will charge an individual, but the law doesn’t always let us to do what we wish we could,” Bharara told Reuters.
What makes the process so difficult to pin on one, or a handful, of people is the reporting responsibilities is so general at automakers, it makes it incredibly difficult to hold one person accountable.
“A particular person may have had only partial knowledge, and contributed in a chain of actions,” he said.
Adding to the difficulty was the problem of producing “criminal intent,” an essential component to charge individuals with crimes in the United States.
Following the ignition-switch recall, GM CEO, Mary Barra, proceeded to fire 15 executives from the company, including quality-control employees.
Barra, and Global Product head, Mark Reuss, addressed GM employees during a town-hall style meeting today, announcing the company’s government agreement to pay the $900 million fine.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
Well she does. I figure she didn’t fire 15 people who had nothing to do with it.
If memory serves…I believe Mary fired those 15 employees after the Valukas report came out.
What would make people happy? Burned at the stake infront of the RenCen? Drawn and quartered by Dually 3500 Silverados?? Yes, its GM’s fault people put 20 pounds on their key chains, got into a fight with their boyfriends, got massively drunk and drove their Cobalt into a cul-de-sac at 80mph at WOT slamming into a tree…..yes, bad ignitions…..right.
And I might also add that the Feds think they have to play God as well.
Still say there was nothing wrong with the ignition switches,most of those killed were drunk,speeding,or not wearing their selt belts…or all three combined….what do you think is going to happen when your drunk going 69 in a 25 mph zone without your selt belt on and you wreck?!? Like the one 16 year old girl did.
And then her mom still blames GM,sorry but GM didn’t kill your daughter,your daughter killed herself,just glad she didn’t kill any innocent people.
Rich to be fair some switches not all did have weaker springs and if loaded up with weight they could turn off. There is no way anyone can deny this as it has been proven.
The case is only a small part of them had this issue but since the better parts did not have different part numbers no one was able to tell where all this started or ended.
So GM was at fault for what started what could be called an accident. But as to why someone died well many times that was up to the driver and what they were doing and what condition they were let alone if they failed to use safety equipment.
No belt is like no helmet with a bike rider. You choose not to use it then you take on the responsibility or a share of if something goes wrong.
But because of the media companies will not fight this as well the cost. Odds are they could win or reduce the judgment but at a greater cost in defense spending and a greater cost in the media that likes to attack larger cGM is not going to release numbers like this as no automaker would.
But for your review here is the simple steps to profit of a vehicle like this.
Take a platform that you already sell for tens of thousands of less dollars that you sell in great volume under two different brands already and make a very comfortable profit.
Then you had several thousand more dollars of equipment and trim to it and then sell it for up to $15,000 more you make a killing on it. Then you add another $5,000 in trim features and sell it for $20,000 more even more money is made.
It really does not take a Einstein to understand how this works. This too is how the cars have worked too and how they have been making money. If you can make money with a V8 from a truck or a Malibu the profits carry over to the Cadillac at twice the cost.
The seceret is it really cost little more to make a Cadillac over a Chevy other than material cost. They cost no different to design or build. They do cost more for content but is that really $20,000 more in content?
This is the general rule and profits of a Luxury brand and why nearly every company wants a part in it and can afford to sell low numbers for many years.
This is how companies like Infinity and Hyundai can afford to sell cars at such low numbers that they are nearly invisible and yet keep them on the market. There is a lot of meat on the bone of each luxury corperations as it attracts readers.
I had no issue in GM paying out for legitimate crashes that they fully responsible for the death. Now where I draw the line is where the driver made the life and death choice to do something that directly contributed to their deaths.
The truth is most of these people would be alive today if they had made the right choices.
The reality is here that the cars still turned as the wheel did not lock. The car still stopped as the vacuum was still present in the brake booster for 2-3 applications of the pedal. The car could be put into Neutral and restarted very easily if not impaired. And finally the air bag needs the belt to be used or it can kill a passenger all on its own as it is a supplemental restraint not a primary.
The truth is GM screwed up and should be fined and pay out where the driver was a true victim. But in cases where the driver would normally be alive if they had used good unimpaired judgment and used the provided safety equipment GM should only be held partially responsible.
The end of this though to me did have one good thing that did come from it. This went down under the old GM culture that could not do the right thing even for themselves at times. When this investigation started Mary was in a fight to continue the change in culture that Lutz started. Once this got ugly it opened the door to Mary to make the changes she needed to do with little opposition. Those responsible for the old ways could not fight this. And because of this I feel we have gain more ground with GM moving to what they could and should be much sooner.
Unfortunately our society rewards bad and lazy behavior. You have the Bernie Sanders types that want to label all corporations as evil when the truth most business people and corporations do a lot more good than bad.
We should reward good work ethics and behavior but we do the opposite.
That’s going way too far, to blame the accident victims. When a car’s power steering deactivates, for the typical driver today, panic sets in. Particularly when it’s unexpectedly. If power braking also fails, it can easily lead to a fatal scenario.
A highway patrol officer driving, died in one of the Prius unintended-accelerator accidents, ruled as such by NHTSA. So even professional drivers can “not do the right thing” driving a car that experiences a loss of power. Humans are fallible creatures, but it’s not fair to fault that fallibility in a justifiable state of panic.
I also think this article is poorly titled, and falls in with the notion that there should be individual criminal charges. There is no evidence that anyone, even the “switch from hell” designers (their words, not mine), realized that the switches could fail in a way that created a fatal scenario. That’s why nobody is being charged.
I won’t speak to the employees fired, because GM never published public justifications for their firings. Lawyers probably stopped them from doing so out of fear of a libel suit from said employees.
How is it too far. I do not blame them for the accident but I do in many of the cases I studied blame them in a good part of them living and dying in the accident.
If you so not put on your belt the one thing that would keep you alive where is it fully GM’s fault you died. GM was negligent for the accident and if you failed to use the safety equipment or were speeding or incapacitated should you not share in your demise?
As for doing the right thing with the loss of power happens thousands of time daily as car stall for many reasons. Why do we not hear about these? How come few people die if they are belted in and not incapacitated.
I worked as a mechanic for years and often had cars stall under me. I am not a professional driver and had little issue dealing with the situation safely. The fact is the cars will stop with power assist. Fact the cars will turn with the lack of power and on center you only see partial assist anyways. Only under full turn do you get full assist. Many cars show little assist on center anymore for better road feel.
Note we are not talking Prius here with a floor mat under the pedal that could have been stopped shutting it off.
I do not totally absolve GM of this but if the person dies due to their actions or lack other there of they also should have shared in the blame.
So not wearing a seat belt and hitting a tree at 70 MPH is not a direct cause of death? They never had a chance. At least with the belt there was a small chance.
It’s called the legal standard of proximate cause. If the switch had not failed, would the person have died? That’s the question, in each of these claims. Nowhere did I say that all these claims are valid. You simply can’t blame a driver in panic for fault.
People have a right to make stupid decisions, even act badly. If you compound those decisions with your own, undue negligence, you (or in this case, GM) assumes considerable responsibility.
Don’t like it? Go pass a constitutional amendment. Until then, harping on a few hundred years of common law is not productive.
Chris it is also called Due Care.
Even if GM did something wrong you failed to use due care to make use of the provided safety equipment that would have kept you alive no matter what GM did.
I am sorry but there were two wrongs here and no matter what you say or provide will never correct either side.
It is not a constitutional amendment. Common Law yes but nothing more and can still be argued in court.
I am not blaming a driver in panic. I am blaming a driver that broke the law by not wearing a seat belt and is more than one case was under the influence and speeding or a combination of several of these.
If the ignition failed and some how someone just does something stupid while wearing all the safety equipment, sober and not 3 times the speed limit on a dead end street. Then you have a legitimate case.
I studied the first 12 cases and I could only see two that were legitimate. Even then there was a lack of info on these two cases but I gave them the benefit.
I suspect at least half or more may not be legitimate or at least the final life and death choice was made by the driver by not being with in the law.
You may not agree but like I said I do not disagree GM played a part in this but in the cases where the drivers contributed to their own deaths they too should be held responsible.
It is people like you the lawyers love. They can make a case out of nothing and promise you all sorts of money but in the end make us pay more for products and keep most of the settlement for themselves. This is why we need tort reform in the worst way today.
Too many of these cases go with no intent of winning as they know the companies will settle because it is cheaper to settle for $5 Million vs. Fighting and paying $20 Million to win.
And in the end you and I pay the bills in higher cost of product.
“Unfortunately our society rewards bad and lazy behavior.
We should reward good work ethics and behavior but we do the opposite.”
Read more: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2015/09/federal-law-gaps-blamed-for-no-individual-criminal-charges-with-general-motors-executives/#ixzz3mFARLcBp
How can anyone be in favor of the bailout and then say things that almost make sense? GM got billions for shoddy quality, and years of incompetence. Other companies had to put in the hard honest work, barely scraping by, paying their dues, while GM got the socialist treatment. And yes, aside from the fifteen or so people who read this website, everybody knows the money was never, and will never be paid back.
Well when the common need benefits the masses in the long run that is where it is justified.
Or would you like to have tossed tens of thousands of workers into unemployment on the government dole as the two automakers go under? In the long run buy bailing them out you created jobs by retaining jobs.
The money has been paid back. The only money not paid back was the stocks the government sold too soon. That was their choice. Ford has not paid back their energy department loans either.
Toyota, Bank of America, Citibank, AIG, BP, GM, HIBC, Intel, Abbot Labs, Enron(g), Pfizer, etc…
Breaking the law, and paying fines is all just part of business as usual.
GM’s small potatoes compared to Big Pharma.
Regarding the ignition switch issue…It was recently announced that a manslaughter conviction was overturned, by a Pennsylvania judge, for a woman who was in an accident while driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone. The passenger was killed, who was not wearing a seat belt. Airbags did not deploy.
Her ambulance chasing lawyer (Robert Hilliard) argued that she had “No responsibility for the cause of this accident”, and “The airbag alone likely would have saved his life”.
The name of the judge who overturned the conviction is Judge Philip Ignelzi. I wonder what he was smoking when he made this decision?
I thought that was in TX but maybe there were two like this.
The deal is often judges are activist and lawyer shop courts for them.
Here is a link…
Thanks this is a second one.
The other one I believe is in Texas. The driver was impaired by drugs and her passenger was killed. They were going to toss out the charges because the passenger air bag did not work. Well they like to leave out the passenger did not have a belt on and would have been alive if he had one on and there is no guarantee if unbelted the bag would have not broken his neck anyways.
This is just another example where the media leave out what they want and does not report the whole truth. I find many who have not investigated the GM issues think it was just all the ignition and had no clue to the other contributing factors involved.
For sure GM did wrong but from what I have seen most of these people would be alive if they did what they should have done. GM created the situation for the accident but what killed most of them was their own lack of being responsible for their own actions.