Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP,
announced that consumers from across the county have joined together and filed
a class-action lawsuit that demands compensation from General Motors
and Delphi Automotive for manufacturing, advertising and selling certain
cars alleged to be unsafe to drive.
Drivers of the recalled cars filed the lawsuit to recover the costs
associated with owning or leasing a GM car manufactured with an ignition
switch that GM admits it knew for over a decade was defective and is now
linked to hundreds of highway deaths.
"As the complaint alleges and GM's 'Dear Customer' letter advises class
members, GM now publicly acknowledges a clear and present danger that it
is not prepared to correct," stated attorney Elizabeth J. Cabraser of
the national plaintiffs' law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein,
LLP. "Affirmative action by consumers and courts is essential to swiftly
and completely eliminating the danger from these ignition switches
before any more deaths and injuries occur."
"People from all over the nation are uniting to hold GM accountable -
and we're expecting the number of individuals demanding this
accountability to grow even larger in the days and weeks ahead," said
attorney Robin L. Greenwald with Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. of New York,
New Jersey, and California, one of six plaintiffs' law firms
coordinating to bring the litigation.
The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount in compensatory damages, and
to have exemplary and statutory penalties imposed on the defendants.
Additionally, the plaintiffs want the defendants to either surrender the
ill-gotten profits made on the affected cars or to make full restitution
to the victims individually and as a class.
Class Action Lawsuit Allegations Summarized
The complaint alleges that GM and Delphi, producer of the ignition
switches at issue, knew of the defect early on but chose to do nothing
about it and to offer no warning of the problem so as not to harm sale
of the vehicles.
More than 300 fatalities have been reported by independent safety
regulators who looked into deaths tied to just two of the affected GM
makes and models, the complaint alleges.
The complaint also alleges that GM deprived consumers of their right to
make an informed decision about driving a car they had a right to expect
would be safe.
The plaintiffs assert in the lawsuit that Delphi knew its ignition
switches were defective in design and/or manufacture, but nonetheless
continued to make and sell them. They allege as well that Delphi knew GM
would install the faulty switches in the carmaker's vehicles.
"The class action lawsuit prioritizes prompt correction under court
control, calls for statutory penalties to punish and deter misconduct,
and requests a court-supervised compensation fund to repay the expense
and inconvenience to consumers of being saddled with this defect, and of
bringing in their cars to fix what should have been designed and built
safely in the first place," Cabraser explained.
"The decade-long deceit, the complaint charges, was spread, amplified
and reinforced by GM's false advertising about the cars," Greenwald
said. "On the basis of that advertising, more and more innocent people
kept buying these cars believing, as GM told them -- even though not
true -- that the car was safe for them, their families, their friends
and others on the road. These consumers had the absolute right to know
the truth. But rather than admit the defect and offer car owners repair
of their vehicles, GM concealed the defect and, shockingly, continued to
sell cars with the same defect. What is even worse, GM put millions of
people's lives at risk as GM knew that the defect had and could continue
to cause driving fatalities."
The complaint was filed late yesterday afternoon in federal court in Los
The consumers in the class action lawsuit are represented by Weitz &
Luxenberg, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, Lackey Hershman,
L.L.P. of Dallas, Texas, Bailey & Glasser, LLP, of Charleston, West
Virginia, The Lanier Law Firm P.C. of Houston, Texas, Barrett Law Group,
P.A. of Lexington, Mississippi, and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin,
Portis & Miles, P.C. of Montgomery, Alabama.
GM Recall Summarized
Some 1.5-million vehicles are affected by the ignition switch defect,
the complaint estimates. Two models of GM-built Chevrolet are among the
cars at the center of the lawsuit. They are the 2005-07 Cobalt and
2006-07 MY Chevrolet HHR.
The lawsuit also involves two GM Saturn models: the 2003-07 MY Saturn
Ion and 2007 MY Saturn Sky.
Additionally identified in the lawsuit are GM's 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice
and 2005-07 Pontiac G5.
The defects result in ignition switches being installed loose and
improperly positioned, which makes them susceptible to failure during
normal and expected driving conditions, the complaint contends.
When the ignition switch failure occurs, it turns off the engine and
vital electrical components, such as the power steering system and
anti-lock brakes; it also can affect deployment of the car's safety
airbag system, as GM admits in the recall.
"If the vehicle is traveling along the freeway at 65 mph, the loss of
those crucial systems will leave the driver unable to control the
vehicle," said Greenwald. "GM even acknowledges there have been deaths
caused by the defective ignition switch."
Legal Resources for Owners of Recalled GM Cars
Owners of the affected cars interested in more information about
protecting and advancing their legal interests through this class action
are invited to contact Weitz & Luxenberg toll-free at (800) 476-6070 or
or Lieff Cabraser toll-free at (800) 541-7358 or visit www.lieffcabraser.com.
This press release may be considered Attorney Advertising in certain
jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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