SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

News Feed Item

Grant & Eisenhofer and National Coalition of Major Trial Firms Bring Class Action against General Motors Over Defective Key System

Suit filed in San Francisco seeks economic recovery for owners and lease-holders of GM cars whose faulty key systems were prone to sudden shut-down, a problem GM concealed for a decade; plaintiffs represented by Grant & Eisenhofer, Baron & Budd, The Coope

SAN FRANCISCO, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As General Motors braces for bruising investigations by Congress and federal regulators over its decade-long failure to correct faulty ignitions switches on several of its major car brands, GM now also faces a private class action filed by a group of GM consumers from nine states seeking economic recovery on behalf of a nationwide class for purchasing and/or leasing vehicles they allege the company knew were defective.

The suit accuses the auto giant of fraudulently concealing material facts regarding the scope and extent of problems with its key system, which have been linked to at least 31 crashes and 13 fatalities nationally.  The company is in the midst of a massive recall involving some 1.6 million vehicles carrying the defective switches.

The suit, filed today in the U.S. District Court for Northern California in San Francisco, contends that GM knew its key system posed an "increase[ed] risk of injury or fatality" as far back as 2001 but failed to take proper steps to correct the defects, which could cause certain Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn cars to shut down without warning while being driven.  In addition to rendering the cars' power steering and brakes inoperable, the ignition failures caused the safety airbags to stop functioning, putting drivers at extreme risk in a collision.  GM has publicly admitted that its keys could inadvertently slip out of the "run" position with the car's engine on.

Today's action was brought by 13 GM customers who bought and leased its cars in a number of states, including California, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Vermont.  More plaintiffs are expected to join the suit, which covers a variety of GM cars for model years ranging from 2003-2010 (a full list of the vehicles covered follows below).

The plaintiffs argue that GM was fully aware that the problems extended beyond just the ignition switch mechanism that has been the focus of the recall.  According to their complaint, the company's engineering documents show that the defects also included the placement of the switch in the steering column and a lack of adequate protection from normal, incidental contact by drivers.  "To fully remedy the problem and render the defective vehicles safe and of economic value to their owners again, additional design elements beyond a new ignition switch are needed," the complaint states.

"The fact that GM has, to date, issued a partial recall knowing the insufficiency underscores GM's ongoing fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation of the nature and extent of the defects," the complaint continues.

Separate from ongoing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against GM, the latest action is asking the court to compel the company to undertake a full repair and overhaul of the affected key systems so that all defective vehicles can have their value restored.  Consumers are also seeking monetary compensation for the diminished value of their cars.

"It is tremendously disappointing that General Motors, which was bailed out by U.S. consumers during the financial crisis, has been carrying on the most egregious and far-reaching cover-up in automotive history because it didn't want to assume the costs of fixing cars it knew to be dangerously defective," said Adam Levitt, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs group.  Mr. Levitt is a director of prominent litigation firm Grant & Eisenhofer, where he heads the firm's Consumer Practice group, and is currently leading its litigation on behalf of Ford Motor customers seeking redress from Ford vehicles that were subject to incidents of sudden, unintended acceleration.

According to the complaint, GM could have placed a simple protective shield around its key system to keep it in place and prevent it from disengaging, thereby disabling the cars.  "We intend to show that despite the option of a straightforward fix, GM chose to dismiss the solution because of the added costs involved in undertaking a voluntary recall," Mr. Levitt said. 

He noted the irony of GM's current advertising campaign, encouraging drivers to "Find New Roads" in their personal journeys.  "We hope GM's ad slogan also refers to the roads of truth and corporate accountability, which this affair reveals have been the roads less traveled by the company for a long time."

In addition to Grant & Eisenhofer, plaintiffs are represented by noted litigation firms Baron & Budd PC of Dallas and The Cooper Firm of Marietta, Georgia.  Cooper's principal partner Lance Cooper is recognized as the attorney who first uncovered GM's key system problem, as well as the company's years-long effort to hide it.

Other major firms comprising the litigation team include Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Goza, P.C.; The DiCello Law Firm; Conley Griggs Partin LLP; Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC; Bucci Bailey & Javins L.C.; and Siprut P.C. 

Among the lawyers participating in the action are Edward D. "Chip" Robertson, Jr., who served as Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, along with Sharon L. Potter, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia. 

"We have an incredibly strong national trial team, supported by several highly respected experts with extensive experience in large-scale automotive cases," noted Mr. Levitt of Grant & Eisenhofer.  "We also believe we're bringing a set of facts to our complaint that are unique with respect to GM's conduct regarding its defective key system and its subsequent cover-up."

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, covers owners and lease-holders of the following GM vehicles – dates indicate model years:  Chevrolet Cobalt (2005-2010); Chevrolet HHR (2006-07); Pontiac Solstice (2006-07); Pontiac G5 (2005-07); Saturn Ion (2003-07); and Saturn Sky (2007).

Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A. (www.gelaw.com)

Grant & Eisenhofer represents plaintiffs in a wide range of complex financial litigation. G&E's clients include institutional investors, whistleblowers and other stakeholders in bankruptcy litigation, securities class actions, derivative lawsuits, consumer class actions, antitrust suits, and cases involving the False Claims Act. G&E has recovered more than $13 billion for its clients and class members in the last five years alone and has consistently been cited by RiskMetrics for securing the highest average investor recovery in securities class actions. G&E has been named one of the country's top plaintiffs' law firms by The National Law Journal for the past 10 years.

From:  Allan Ripp 212-262-7477 [email protected] 
          Elise Martin 302-622-7004 [email protected]

SOURCE Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
AppZero has announced that its award-winning application migration software is now fully qualified within the Microsoft Azure Certified program. AppZero has undergone extensive technical evaluation with Microsoft Corp., earning its designation as Microsoft Azure Certified. As a result of AppZero's work with Microsoft, customers are able to easily find, purchase and deploy AppZero from the Azure Marketplace. With just a few clicks, users have an Azure-based solution for moving applications to the...
The cloud is becoming the de-facto way for enterprises to leverage common infrastructure while innovating and one of the biggest obstacles facing public cloud computing is security. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jeff Aliber, a global marketing executive at Verizon, discussed how the best place for web security is in the cloud. Benefits include: Functions as the first layer of defense Easy operation –CNAME change Implement an integrated solution Best architecture for addressing network-l...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's