US Senate to limit secret settlements in GM recall like suits image

In relation to some of the moves surrounding General Motors recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches, two US senators have moved to put a bill that would limit some secret settlements.

According to the new legislation, federal judges would need to first asses the impact on the public interest before moving to make personal injury and product liability lawsuits court records secret.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Lindsey Graham say that “concealment prevented the public, and future GM car owners, from learning about the dangers posed by these faulty ignition switches. This legislation would have enabled people to be aware of the threats to safety posed by the faulty ignition switches and deaths could have been prevented.”

The measure is now called the Sunshine in Litigation Act, and is intended as a deterrent to secret settlements that some senators say GM entered with some of the victims or families in related suits to the defective ignition switch recall.

General Motors, which faces five probes from different federal authorities, was fined the maximum allowed $35 million by the NHTSA as a conclusion to its probe – saying that if the company revealed earlier about the faulty ignition switches some victims might have been saved.