The 2.6 million vehicles recalled by General Motors in connection with the ignition switch problem are all equipped with the part made by Delphi Automotive – and now its role in the problem is called by plaintiffs.
Delphi, one of the largest auto parts suppliers in the world, has now been linked with at least two lawsuits that source it to the recall – one by a former Delphi employee and the other by customers who consider the recall has caused their cars to lose value.
At the moment, while Delphi was the manufacturer of the part that caused all the problems and accidents, its liability depends on the degree of control it had over the design of the ignition switch and the terms of its bankruptcy that ended in 2009.
For Delphi, “there’s that potential that there’s just no responsibility at all” said Larry Coben, a plaintiffs’ attorney with the firm Anapol Schwartz.
“Ultimately, it would be up to a jury,” said Lance Cooper, a plaintiffs’ attorney from Georgia. “If Delphi makes the switch and they know it’s a bad switch, they could point the finger at GM, but that’s not going to keep them out of a courtroom.”
Also, if the lawsuits demonstrate that Delphi designed the switch, or it was involved in the cover-ups, they could convince a judge to move forward and make the “new” Delphi assume “successor liability”.