by Stevie Hall*In 2009, General Motors (GM) faced bankruptcy. Since then, GM has been out of the spot light, but because of a Texas couple (along with many other cases), GM is now facing a new misfortune. Over 31 accidents and 13 deaths have been allegedly linked to a faulty ignition switch that GM produced in several cars, namely the Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion.
Thursday, a federal judge denied the “Park It Now” motion filed in a lawsuit Charles and Grace Silvas of Texas. This motion sought to require GM to inform their buyers of the faulty ignition switch, and ask them to park their cars until the switch is fixed. However, according to Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of United States District Court in Corpus Christi Texas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) is able to handle complex situations like this better than the court, and has “primary jurisdiction over the issue.” A safety consultant, Allan Kam, who retired from N.H.T.S.A said he found nothing in his research that would require GM to ask their buyers to stop driving their cars.
According to the New York Times, if the ignition switch is jostled, it could cause the car’s power steering and brakes to shut down, as well the air bags to be disabled. Currently 2.59 million cars to be recalled. The purchase date of the car is important. For cars bought before July 10th 2009, the recall and legal claims will have no effect. This is because of GM’s bankruptcy. GM is using Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to bar legal action for cars before this date. The Code allows corporations and partnerships to reorganize, especially for companies that begin to dwindle out, but will try to repay creditors over time. The New York Times notes that GM asked a federal bankruptcy judge to reaffirm the protection they have under Chapter 11.
This is just the beginning of what may be many long legal battles for GM. The company is facing a hefty amount of cases for personal injury, economic damages, and wrongful deaths. If you do own one of the aforementioned vehicles, visit the following website for more information regarding the next steps to take: http://www.gmignitionupdate.com/. If you have been faced with a similar situation, contact our office at 936-294-1717, email@example.com, or www.shsu.edu/legalservice to schedule an appointment, and let us point you in the right direction.