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Top GM attorney retires after product liability scandal

The last thing any Louisiana driver wants to hear is that their vehicle may have a defective car part. However, for many drivers who had GM vehicles, that's exactly what they heard regarding their ignition switches. The car maker is still under fire after waiting a reported 11 years to recall vehicles that had known ignition-switch defects. Thus far these defects have been linked to almost 30 deaths. The ignition-switch can slip out of position while the car is in motion. This causes the vehicle to stall and disable air bags. Since the start of 2014, 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled.

After almost 40 years with GM, the company's top lawyer Michael Millikin is set to say goodbye to the company. It is reported that he will retire from his position in early 2015. At age 66, Millikin has worked for GM for 38 years and has been in the top spot for the last 5 years. He will remain at his job until his replacement is named. GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey stressed that the attorney was not forced out. On the contrary, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra and the board have asked him to stay longer as they continue to steer through the cloud of controversy.

As the nation's number one auto maker publicly backs Millikin, there was a chorus of criticism for both the attorney and his legal team. Federal officials publicly questioned why he was able to remain at his job following the ignition scandal. Millikin remained at the job while many other attorneys were fired amid the scandal.

While GM searches for a replacement for Millikin, numerous litigation continues concerning the ignition-switch defects. Injured victims are waiting to have their day in court to receive proper compensation for their injuries. The GM recall has opened a floodgate of product liability litigation.

Source: ABA Journal, "Top GM lawyer Michael Millikin to retire early next year," Martha Neil, Oct. 17, 2014

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