GM Judge Denies Order to Remove Court-Appointed Lead Counsel
NEW YORK – In an order issued today, Judge Jesse M. Furman, overseeing the General Motors (NYSE:GM) ignition switch multi-district litigation (MDL), denied a motion to remove court-appointed lead counsel, including Hagens Berman’s Steve Berman.
“The court’s opinion and the needs of our clients take precedence over unwarranted, time-wasting motions, and we will continue to focus on tenaciously leading this litigation,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and co-lead counsel representing GM vehicle owners in the suit. “We look forward to continuing to best represent the plaintiffs in this case against GM who have been victim to its egregious actions – they are what matter most.”
In his order issued Feb. 10, 2016, Judge Furman characterized the motions, filed by a single lawyer who was not supported by any other attorneys, as “patently untimely” and providing “little or no evidence to support their (sometimes wild) accusations of impropriety and underhandedness on the part of Lead Counsel.” Indeed, the court added that the motions did “not even come close to providing a legal basis for the drastic step of removing lead counsel in the middle of MDL proceedings that, “all things considered, have proceeded remarkably smoothly and swiftly to date” in this complex and multi-faceted litigation.
Steve Berman was appointed co-lead counsel representing owners of GM vehicles in the MDL. The MDL arises from GM’s announcement that over 20 million GM vehicles were plagued by a barrage of safety defects and bungled recalls from GM that irrevocably damaged GM’s brand, according to the firm.
Among the safety defects at issue is a defect that involves the car’s ignition, which according to consumers, can switch off while in operation, disabling airbags and other electrical and safety features such as power steering and power brakes. According to published reports, government documents, and GM’s own internal documents, GM had knowledge of the ignition switch defect as early as 2001, but the lawsuit charges that the company ignored warnings of the defect’s severity and did not warn consumers.
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