US: Judge rejects motion over GM’s ignition-switch settlement image

A US judge denied a motion that challenged GM’s fund agreement for the benefit of victims that sued the automaker over the ignition-switch scandal

At the beginning of the month, Lance Cooper, the lawyer who represents a number of plaintiffs in lawsuits against General Motors’ defective ignition-switches, filed a motion challenging GM’s fund for the benefit of victims that sued the automaker. Cooper accused Robert Hilliard, an attorney leading federal litigations over the switch, closed the settlement mostly to his own benefit, as well as to the benefit of his own clients, rather than in favor of all plaintiffs. In September, GM offered around 595 million dollars to victims through a fund managed by compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg.

This week, the US District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan rejected the motion and called Cooper’s allegations “meritless” and said he was engaging in “Monday morning quarterbacking” regarding lead counsel’s legal strategy. Furman said he hoped his ruling would “lift any cloud of uncertainty hovering over” the cases and allow plaintiffs’ lawyers to return to litigating against GM, instead of each other.”

Cooper’s challenge came two weeks after the first federal trial over GM’s faulty ignition switches abruptly ended in the aftermath of the plaintiff’s voluntarily dismissing his case, following allegations that he may have given false testimony to jurors. GM will face at least 25 trials over the switch in state and federal courts over the next two years, according to Furman. The next trial is scheduled for March.

Via Reuters