New York judge favors settlements in GM ignition lawsuits image

After it was revealed that General Motors delayed the recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with potentially deadly ignition switches for more than a decade, numerous lawsuits ensued.

That’s only a part of the trouble the No.1 US automaker is facing, because the intense scrutiny from federal regulators and deep investigations prompted the company into breaking every conceivable record when it comes to recalls. Besides the victims and families that can address a newly established fund for compensation, numerous customers opted for the traditional approach- a lawsuit. Because of the massive amount of complaints and actions against the company, the lawsuits have been consolidated in New York, where almost 1,000 plaintiffs now fight GM.

US District Judge Jesse M. Furman told the plaintiffs’ lawyers that he encourages settlements – mainly because in a nearby court a bankruptcy judge is also mulling whether the automaker, potentially protected by the bankruptcy law, is eligible for economic damages claims. GM acknowledged it knew about the faulty switches in the 2.6 million cars – linked to at least 13 fatalities and 54 crashes – since at least 2001. GM attorney Richard C. Godfrey disclosed that 983 plaintiffs were involved in 109 cases against the automaker, with only around 12 making personal-injury claims. The rest are solely claiming economic losses, so they would be affected by the decision took in the bankruptcy court.