A US. federal judge has ruled that General Motors does not have to reimburse customers who say their cars lost value following the GM ignition switch recall.
According to Reuters, Manhattan-based U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said the vehicle owners could not seek damages for value lost on their vehicles due to the faulty ignition switch that was linked to multiple fatalities. The plaintiffs were seeking damages based on the differences in value between what they had initially paid for their vehicle and its subsequent value after the widely publicized ignition switch recall.
Judge Furman said the plaintiffs were unable to show the current, fair market value of their vehicles, which made it impossible for the jury to assess potential damages. Additionally, while the vehicles may have needed repairs that would be worth a certain dollar amount, that amount would likely be zero in this case, as GM paid to have the ignition switches repaired.
Steve Burman, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, said that GM must pay for the lost value of the vehicles, otherwise owners who purchased and drove around the defective vehicles receive no compensation.
“There has to be a damage remedy for consumers who unwittingly drove cars with serious safety issues,” Berman told Reuters. “The car maker doesn’t get a free pass when it’s caught lying years later and then fixes the cars.”
Judge Furman is the same judge that presided over 3,000 personal injury and wrongful death claims filed against GM over the faulty ignition switches. Reuters indicates the majority of these cases have so far been resolved or dismissed. GM has paid a total of $2.6 billion in settlements related to the switch since 2014.
GM said it was happy with the decision, as it dismissed the largest remaining claim against it related to the ignition switches. The automaker has repaired 2.6 million vehicles due to the faulty switch to date, which were found in the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5.