General Motors Co, the third largest automaker in the world, has been embroiled in the faulty ignition switch saga since January of this year. The company must have thought they had run at least one major gauntlet when they settled with two families over fatal crashes resulting from the defective switches in cars manufactured by GM.
The Arguments for a New Lawsuit
In light of recent revelations however, where it was discovered that GM had prior knowledge of the issue, both those families are considering seeking to overturn the agreements reached. Although both families have said they wish to sue GM again for the company's fraudulent cover up of the ignition switch problems, neither has actually done it yet, perhaps because they realize that such actions will prove to be rather difficult to win.
The families might still, however, proceed with the lawsuits, granted they can convince a judge that GM intentionally defrauded them and misled them into the original settlements. If they are successful in having the previous agreements overturned, GM will have to revisit a case they would have thought settled and done with. This certainly is one case the company can do without, and will endeavor to avoid it all costs.
The Controversy of Ignition Switches
GM has recalled up to 2.6 million vehicles it manufactured, from the models related to several car crashes and deaths resulting from defective ignition switches which would cause the car's airbags and engine to shut off randomly and accidentally.
However, most damning of all for GM, even more than the deaths directly associated with their vehicles, is the fact that certain members of the company might well have been aware of the faulty switches for nearly a decade, and that they chose to do nothing about the issue. There have been suggestions that the costs that would be incurred in fixing the problem deterred the company from taking action, which of course, is no excuse whatsoever for such flagrant disregard for quality control and the safety of its customers.
The Case for a Revisit
Even though a revisit to the cases might present the types of headache, however callous that might sound, GM would most like to avoid, the chances are that such lawsuits will never materialize. It is incredibly difficult to have settlements overturned to begin with, and might become nigh impossible to break given that they were drafted by a litigant as sophisticated as GM.
Once again though, GM will find itself in rather stormy waters if it is proven that they had prior knowledge of the issues, for the judges might then choose to put all previous settlements aside.