General Motors Faces Perjury and Fraud Charges for Defective Ignition Switch
May 21, 2014
General Motors has recalled almost two million vehicles due to the dangers of a defective ignition switch. Six of General Motors most popular cars, including the Cobalt, are included on the recall list. The defect causes a loose ignition switch to move from the “run” to “off” or “accessory” position which disenables the power steering system, antilock brakes and air bags. This ignition switch defect already has been linked to more than 12 deaths and over 30 crashes.
In March 2011, this defect caused an automobile collision in California which took the life of Brooke Melton. Her family filed a civil lawsuit against General Motors which resulted in a large private settlement. During the course of the Melton lawsuit, information came to light that General Motors had knowledge of this dangerous defect for at least ten years. Although General Motors knew there were problems with the ignition switch during the production stage, the motor company proceeded to sell cars with the defective switch, placing millions of lives at risk.
Now the Melton family has brought additional perjury and fraudulent concealment charges against General Motors on the basis that General Motors lied during the course of their civil lawsuit regarding important evidence about the design of the ignition switch. General Motors has consistently claimed that they could not identify when or who made the decision to redesign the ignition switch. New evidence has surfaced which indicates that the lead design engineer for the Cobalt lied under oath about his part in authorizing an ignition switch design change.
This design change was made without changing the actual part number. Not changing the actual part number when there is a design change goes against industry guidelines. The failure to change the part numbers contributed to General Motor’s delay in responding to the complaints about the defective ignition switch. According to the new charges, General Motors supported the engineer in his covering up this important piece of information.
The Melton lawsuit successfully brought to light General Motor’s bad behavior and resulted in the General Motors recall, an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, several class action lawsuits and increased congressional oversight. It is now hoped that these additional perjury and fraudulent concealment charges will serve as a further warning to all automobile companies that lying or concealing information about safety records will have serious consequences.
Call the Philadelphia Products Liability Attorneys at Galfand Berger for More Information on the GM Recalls
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