Hagens Berman Announces Bankruptcy Court Filing Seeking to Allow Defective Ignition Switch Litigation Against General Motors to Proceed

SEATTLE – Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, co-lead counsel in nationwide litigation against General Motors Co. related to the deadly ignition switch defect that has caused 42 confirmed deaths, triggering an ongoing series of recalls and diminished value of all GM-branded vehicles, announces the filing of a pleading in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The pleading responds to GM’s efforts to permanently prevent plaintiffs from asserting claims against New GM, based on the court-approved bankruptcy sale of assets from Old GM to New GM, and is filed by Brown Rudnick LLP, Stutzman Bromberg Esserman & Plifka, Hagens Berman, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Hilliard Munoz Gonzales L.L.P.

“GM continues to try to keep consumers from receiving the remedy they deserve,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and co-lead counsel representing plaintiffs in nationwide litigation against GM. “When standing before the American people, GM claims to take responsibility, but in the courtrooms of America, it seeks the opposite, attempting to evade responsibility for its illegal acts.”

According to court documents, “Despite New GM’s purported commitment to transparency and accountability, it now argues that a Sale Order, entered five years before New GM initiated the long-overdue ignition switch defect recalls, provides New GM with total immunity from liability, for its own actions and for the actions of Old GM… New GM’s arguments are a dangerous invitation to abuse the bankruptcy process whenever a company knows of serious liabilities but chooses not to disclose them and seeks, instead, to transfer its valuable assets to a ‘new’ company while attempting to leave its undisclosed liabilities behind.”

“Bankruptcy sale laws were designed to allow newly formed companies to succeed – not to deprive defrauded consumers of remedies when they were unaware that were being harmed until years after the bankruptcy sale,” Berman added. “The bankruptcy Sale Order is simply not a ‘get out of jail free card’ that New GM can use to avoid answering for the vast harm caused by the ignition switch defect and its massive cover-up of that defect.”

Additional information about the suit is available at http://hbsslaw.com/cases/general-motors.

The litigation against GM involves defective ignition switches that can cause a car to inadvertently switch off while in operation. The defect causes the car to stall, and also disables airbags and other electrical features integral to safety, such as power steering and power brakes. According to attorneys at Hagens Berman, evidence overwhelmingly shows that “Old GM” was aware of the deadly defect for years before the bankruptcy, but chose not to conduct a safety recall and concealed its knowledge of the defect from regulators and consumers. New GM continued the cover-up for years before finally issuing recalls beginning in February of 2014.

The ignition switch plaintiffs demonstrate in today’s filing that, even though Old GM knew that it had wronged them, it did not notify them either that they had a claim against GM or that their claim might be eliminated by the bankruptcy sale to New GM. For that reason, their constitutional rights to Due Process would be violated if they were not allowed to go forward with their litigation against New GM. The filing further demonstrates that the bankruptcy sale was not intended to provide New GM with immunity for its own actions in fraudulently covering up the ignition switch defect and making false statements about the safety of its vehicles.

The cars with defective ignition switches that are or may have been made by “Old GM” before the bankruptcy include: 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-10 Pontiac G5, 2003-7 Saturn Ion, 2006-11 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-10 Pontiac Solstice, 2007-10 Saturn Sky, 2010-2014 Chevrolet Camaro, 2005-2009 Buick Lacrosse, 2006-2009 Buick Lucerne, 2000-2005 Cadillac Deville,  2007-2009 Cadillac DTS, 2000-2009 Chevrolet Impala, 2006-2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2000-2005 Monte Carlo, 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am, 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix, 2003-2009 Cadillac CTS and 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX.


About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List seven times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

Ashley Klann
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