US: GM accused of cover-up by ignition switch plaintiffs’ lawyer image

General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world has been accused by a Texas attorney representing owners of the recalled company vehicles of conspiracy.

According to the plaintiffs’ representative, the automaker and an outside law firm worked together to hide evidence linking the company to the ignition switch recall that has caused at least 11 deaths and hundreds of injuries. He filed a motion with the federal court in New York, claiming GM and King & Spalding, a global law firm that assists the carmaker in some of its personal injury cases, of not sharing with regulators plaintiffs lawyers key information about the defective ignition switches. Robert Hilliard, who filed the motion in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, said that no later than October 2010, more than three years ahead of GM’s ignition switch recall started, King & Spalding told the company new juries would lift significantly the punitive damages awarded to victims “if the company had to disclose information that it knew that air bags were not deploying in accidents involving 2005 through 2007 Chevrolet Cobalts.”

GM has responded to the accusation claiming they already discussed publicly many of the issues last year and already delivered “substantial amounts of privileged material” to plaintiffs. On a separate case, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is looking whether the company committed wire fraud as it did not communicate to owners and federal regulators the full impact of the ignition switch issue.