Owners of General Motors vehicles plagued by the ignition switch recall will have their day in court once again. After the owners and a trust that holds many of GM liabilities pre-bankruptcy agreed to a deal last August, the trust dropped the deal days later. Today began a three-day-long bench trial to determine the deal’s validity.
Reuters reported Judge Martin Glenn of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York will preside over the case. GM lawyer Susheel Kirpalani told the judge, “Sometimes people simply get cold feet, even when they get married.” “And the same applies to settlements, your honor.”
The argument to toss out the $1 billion settlement will likely be an uphill battle for GM. Judge Glenn told GM, “I have trouble saying it passes the smell test.” He referred to a two-hour-long meeting between GM and the trust in August. Afterward, the trust walked back on its agreement with car owners affected.
The claims arose from the automaker’s infamous 2014 recall for 2.6 million vehicles. The faulty ignition switches were linked to 124 deaths.
GM would pay $1 billion to settle millions of claims over economic loss and between 400 and 500 personal injury and wrongful death claims. In total, the trust would have accepted $10 billion in claims. It’s worth noting another 2.4 million claims will be settled in another court still.