The U.S. Supreme Court this week rejected a request from General Motors to curb lawsuits from its ignition-switch defect. The nation's highest court denied GM's request to review a lower-court ruling that gave some victims’ families the power to sue over defective ignition switches.
GM had tried to overturn a July ruling from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said the manufacturer should have disclosed the ignition-switch defect when its operations were sold during its 2009 bankruptcy. Langdon & Emison has settled a large number of cases with GM across the country, over the ignition-switch issue. GM's global settlements with consumers, shareholders and federal prosecutors nationwide have so far totaled more than $2 billion.
GM recalled 2.6 million older cars in 2014 with the defective ignition switches, which can slip from the run position, cause vehicles to stall and disable safety features including air bags. The company acknowledged that employees knew of problems for more than a decade.
The appeals court found that GM should have known of the ignition-switch defect—or strongly suspected it—at the time of its bankruptcy case and therefore should have disclosed it. Failing to do so violated consumer rights that are built into the chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the court said. Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the lower court’s ruling stands.