U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman has put a trial scheduled for January 2020 on hold after expressing doubt that the plaintiffs’ claims against General Motors can be successfully argued in court.
Last year, thousands of lawsuits filed against GM by owners of vehicles that featured the faulty GM ignition switch were consolidated in New York to be overseen by Furman, who has been handling cases related to the scandal since the problem first came to light in 2014.
Plaintiffs in the consolidated suit are seeking compensation for the reduced resale values of their cars due to the defective GM ignition switch and are looking to be reimbursed for repairs they paid for in an attempt to remedy the problem.
Furman has now put the trial on hold, however, saying their argument would not hold as GM may be willing to cover the repair bills. Additionally, Furman also said it would be difficult to prove the exact reduced value of the vehicles, which included the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5. Many of the vehicles would now be over 10 years old.
According to Car Complaints, plaintiffs in the case are now being encouraged to settle their cases against GM, as the delayed trial does not bode well for their legal prospects in the proceeding.
GM paid just under $595 million to various victims of the faulty ignition switch via its compensation fund. According to GM data, the faulty ignition switch resulted in 124 deaths, 18 serious injuries (such as quadriplegia, amputation and burns) and 257 injuries that required some degree of medical treatment.
The automaker recalled 2.4 million vehicles in 2014 after it was found that the faulty ignition switch could be bumped by the driver’s knee and easily revert into the ‘Off’ position while the car was in motion, disabling the engine, power steering and other crucial systems, thereby increasing the risk of a crash. GM says it has since implemented a new culture within the company that encourages and rewards employees for speaking up when they spot a potentially dangerous defect in a vehicle—they had previously been encouraged to stay quiet in such instances.
A recent problem involving keys for the 2010-2015 Camaro echoed the original ignition switch scandal, however. In those vehicles, the flip keys could be bumped by the driver’s knee and turn the vehicle off while it was in motion in an identical fashion. GM later implemented a new key design that fixed the problem, but still sold the defective keys through its dealers as replacement equipment. The Camaros originally sold with the flip keys have now been recalled to ensure owners are not using the original, faulty key.
Source: Car Complaints