As residents of New Orleans may be aware, General Motors in the midst of one of the largest recalls in the company’s history. Over 2.5 million cars have been recalled due to ignition-switch issues. Consumers who have been injured are now seeking relief in product liability cases throughout the country. However, GM is hoping to stay these cases by appealing to the bankruptcy court.
GM believes that the company is shielded from product liability suits concerning defects and car crashes that occurred prior to July 2009. The basis of their argument lies in the rules of bankruptcy. Generally, bankruptcy frees a debtor from any contractual obligations and liability in tort cases. However, the plaintiffs that are suing GM will probably argue that the defects were not disclosed in the original bankruptcy filing. Therefore, the company should not be shielded from the product liability cases.
While GM waits for a declaratory judgment, the company is hoping to delay all class action suits that are currently pending. While GM waits to hear its fate, they have responded to the rash of lawsuits. GM believes that their responsibility is limited to the glove-box warranty, which covers vehicles for three years or 36,000 miles after a vehicle is purchased.
Those seeking compensation from GM may have a long road ahead. Anyone who has been injured by a defective product has a right to seek compensation for his or her injuries. Compensation sought may include recovery for pain and suffering, medical and rehabilitation costs and other damages. Anyone who has been injured by a defective product may find it helpful to seek the counsel of a product liability professional.
Source: www.abajournal.com, “GM seeks court ruling it is protected from ignition-switch suits under bankruptcy law,” Martha Neil, April 16, 2014.