Facing hundreds of personal injury product liability lawsuits over defective ignition switches, General Motors this year has faced down the first of thousands of these cases. Surprisingly, the company thus far has been fairly successful. The first three cases ended in their favor, with two of them dismissed (one after plaintiff was deemed not credible) and a third following a trial in which jurors decided the vehicle in question was defective and unreasonably dangerous, but it wasn’t the cause of plaintiff’s injuries.
Now, the company has chosen for the first time to settle one of these bellwether cases. That’s critical here because it could well determine how the company proceeds with other pending product defect lawsuits – particularly those that ended in fatality.
The auto manufacturer has recalled some 2.6 million of its small cars with the faulty ignition switch issue, which causes power to be suddenly cut from a moving vehicle. Not only is that especially dangerous because it causes a driver to lose control of the vehicle, it also shuts down critical safety systems, like airbags and brakes. Continue reading