A lawyer for people suing General Motors over a faulty ignition switch on Tuesday urged jurors in Manhattan federal court to hold the company responsible for a 2014 accident they allege was caused by the defective part.
The lawsuit is the second against GM to go to trial since it recalled 2.6 million vehicles in 2014 with the switch that has been linked to nearly 400 injuries and deaths. During the two-week trial, lawyers for Dionne Spain and Lawrence Barthelemy have argued that a defective switch in Spain’s 2007 Saturn Sky slipped out of position while she was driving, causing the vehicle to stall and crash while crossing an icy bridge in New Orleans in January 2014. “The evidence is overwhelming that there was an ignition switch failure,” said Randall Jackson, who represents Spain and Barthelemy.
General Motors has acknowledged that some of its employees knew about the switch problem for years but failed to take action. It has already paid about $2 billion in settlements and penalties in connection with the part. In the case of Spain’s Saturn Sky, GM lawyer Mike Brock denied its ignition switch was to blame for the accident, arguing that the crash was among many caused by wintry weather and treacherous roads on the bridge that night. During trial, GM portrayed the crash as minor and the resulting damage as minimal. US District Judge Jesse Furman, who oversees the litigation, on Monday dismissed a separate claim by Spain over fraudulent misrepresentation.