General Motors chief executive officer Mary Barra is just one of the current and former top executives of the largest US automaker to be questioned for her implication in the faulty ignition switch debacle that triggered safety campaigns for millions of units.
Back in February last year, GM announced it would recall 2.6 million older cars, mainly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, because of a faulty ignition switch that could shut down the engine while driving, cutting power to essential safety systems, such as airbags. The recall was soon found to be at least a decade late and the ensuing scandal led GM to reshape its safety scrutiny processes and subsequently recall millions of other vehicles. Among the numerous lawsuits stemming from the issue, the ones involving lost value and many death and injury cases have been combined to appear before a federal judge in New York. Attorney Bob Hilliard is the lead lawyer for the personal injury and death cases in the consolidated litigation and he recently announced the plaintiffs lawyers will start taking sworn depositions from GM executives (past and present) on May 6, with Barra scheduled to be the final interviewed witness – on October 8.
The lawyers are now trying to find out when did Barra and other GM executives find out exactly about the faulty ignition switch, linked so far to at least 67 deaths. According to Barra’s sworn testimony in front of the Congress last year, she only found out about the defect shortly before the recall was ordered.