General Motors is seeking increased protection against liability lawsuits related to its ignition switch recall. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press are reporting that GM has filed a motion in U.S. bankruptcy court asking a federal judge to dismiss court claims against the company because these lawsuits are related to actions that took place before GM came out of bankruptcy in 2009.
More than 50 lawsuits have recently been filed against GM seeking damage compensation tied to the ignition switch defect. However, GM asserts that it is not responsible for these claims because it was granted immunity from these liabilities when it was reformed after bankruptcy in 2009. It is important to note that GM’s motion only seeks protection from lawsuits that do not involve accidents that caused personal injury, loss of life, or property damage.
In a statement issued after the filing, GM said: “General Motors has taken responsibility for its actions and will keep doing so. GM has also acknowledged that it has civic and legal obligations relating to injuries that may relate to recalled vehicles, and it has retained Kenneth Feinberg to advise the company what options may be available to deal with those obligations.” (Feinberg is an attorney hired by GM to advise the company on compensation for those affected by the ignition switch defect.)
GM’s letter to the federal judge asserts that these non-injury lawsuits are “retained liabilities” from the Old GM, meaning that New GM should not have to deal with these claims. Many of these liability claims not related to accidents involve owners who say that their cars lost value as a result of the company’s failure to address the ignition switch defect; GM wants to defend itself from class-action suits that don't involve bodily harm to owners.
The hearing for this motion is scheduled for May 29, when the judge will decide whether these non-injury lawsuits will be dismissed or not.