Tag Archive | "ignition switch"

GM Ignition-Switch Claims Deadline Extended to January 31


The deadline to file claims under General Motors Co’s faulty ignition-switch compensation program has been extended by one month to Jan. 31, said Kenneth Feinberg, the program’s administrator, reported Reuters.

Feinberg’s office on Monday updated its list of claims submitted, saying it had approved compensation for the families of 33 victims killed in GM cars with faulty ignition switches.

Notice of the deadline extension was sent to about 4.5 million current and previous owners of eligible vehicles, Feinberg said in a statement. An extension of a further month was being implemented “out of an abundance of caution,” he said.

GM said it agreed with the extension of the deadline.

“Our goal with the program has been to reach every eligible person impacted,” the company said in a statement.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, an outspoken critic of GM’s handling of its ignition-switch problems, said the extension was “inadequate.”

In a statement, Blumenthal said the compensation fund deadline should either be eliminated or substantially modified.

“GM should either commit to waiving its bankruptcy shield in all pending legal actions, or permit all victims who qualify for the fund to postpone their acceptance of their compensation until the completion of the Department of Justice investigation into GM’s possible criminal actions,” he said.

Last week, a car-safety advocate urged a more active approach to finding cases of injury or death. Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, asked Feinberg to expand outreach efforts and scour federal car-safety databases for accidents in recalled vehicles to determine whether the switch was to blame for additional injuries or deaths.

The program, GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility, began accepting claims Aug. 1 and as of Friday had received 2,105 for deaths and serious injuries linked to the switch.

Shares of GM were up 1.6 percent at $32.29 in afternoon trading.

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GM Urges Judge to Bar $10 Billion Ignition-Claim Lawsuits


General Motors Co. (GM) urged a judge to reject lawsuits demanding $10 billion for the lost value of millions of cars recalled this year for ignition-switch fixes and other flaws, reported Bloomberg.

The automaker yesterday told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber in Manhattan that he freed it from responsibility for past errors when he signed off in 2009 on a $49.5 billion government bailout. In a court filing, GM challenged customers’ claim that it forfeited immunity by hiding a long-known defect and exposing them to accidents and financial losses.

If Gerber scraps or adjusts earlier rulings, the judge might let customers fight for billions of dollars in damages and penalties, or at least the lost value of their cars. If Gerber sides with GM, customers suing over the defect might get nothing or be sent to old GM, the corporate remnant the automaker left behind when it reorganized. That company has little money to pay claims after being saddled with the carmaker’s worst assets and liabilities.

“New GM had no involvement” in what old GM, which was responsible for switch defects, told customers about them, the company said in the filing. “New GM purchased old GM’s core assets in good faith.”

GM’s filing yesterday is the first step toward a 2015 decision by Gerber on whether his earlier rulings on immunity still apply after an investigator found that GM engineers and lawyers knew about the defect for at least a decade. A report by Anton Valukas, a former federal prosecutor, spurred federal probes, a record fine and more than 150 lawsuits.

Separately, a federal judge in Manhattan yesterday set a January 2016 trial date for a group of GM’s accident victims, said customer lawyer Bob Hilliard.

Recall Crisis

GM has responded to a recall crisis by starting to settle claims for people who had accidents in older cars with faulty switches. The Detroit-based automaker has said it will fight all other suits. It has asked Gerber to reject non-switch claims for pre-bankruptcy accidents as well as money-loss claims and penalties over ignition-switch defects in vehicles made before bankruptcy.

About 130 car-price lawsuits against GM have been combined in two class actions in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. One group suit is over cars made before the bankruptcy, and the other is for automobiles purchased afterward. Of 30 million cars represented in the suits, 14.7 million were made by old GM, the carmaker said.

While customers in the two suits don’t say how much they want for price declines, GM said their “alleged reductions in value” since the recall imply actual damages of $7.4 billion. That’s without counting the punitive damages that most customers want.

In its filing yesterday, GM focused on cases over older cars.

Car owners haven’t proved their contention that new GM owes them money because old GM denied customers a chance to put in claims during the bankruptcy, the automaker argued. The company also objected to customers’ “opaque hypothesis that they could have coerced new GM” into compensating them if they had demanded it at the time.

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Approved Death Claims Related to GM Ignition Switch Recall Hits 30


DETROIT – The number of approved death compensation claims related to a recall of a faulty General Motors ignition switch has risen to 30, reported MLive.

The number of claims was at 29 last week, after rising from 19 such claims in September.

The claims were approved by a fund set up by GM to compensate victims of a defective part in mid-to-late-2000s model cars that has led to a massive recall and a federal investigation.

The victim compensation fund is being overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, a prominent Washington, D.C. attorney who oversaw similar compensation facilities for disasters such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The latest tally of claims received stands at 1,580, including 192 death claims, 102 “Category One” injury claims, or those resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns, and 1,286 “Category Two” injury claims, or injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident.

To date, there have been 61 claims determined eligible, including the 30 death claims, as well as four Category One injury claims and 27 Category Two claims.

The deadline for filing a compensation claim is Dec. 31. GM has estimated that compensating all victims of the defective car part could cost the Detroit automaker anywhere from $400-600 million.

GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including 2.2 million in the U.S., affected by the ignition switch. The recall includes 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2007-2010 Saturn Skys, 2005-2011 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstices, and 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models.

The faulty ignition switches at the heart of the unprecedented recall can move out of the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” positions, leading to a loss of power. The risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off road or experiences some jarring event, including rough roads. If the key turns to one of those positions, officials say the front air bags may not work if there’s a crash.

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Deaths Linked to GM Ignition-Switch Defect Rise to 29


A program to compensate victims of a faulty ignition switch in General Motors Co (GM.N) vehicles has approved two new death claims, bringing the total number of deaths linked so far to the switch to 29, according to a report released on Monday by the lawyer overseeing the program, reported Reuters.

Since it began accepting claims on Aug. 1, the program has received a total of 1,517 claims for deaths and injuries, according to the report by the office of Kenneth Feinberg, who GM has tapped to run the program. The report listed all of the claims received and approved as of Friday.

GM has faced criticism for waiting 11 years to begin recalling millions of cars with ignition-switch problems that were linked to fatalities.

The switch can slip out of position, stalling the vehicle and disabling air bags, and the defect led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles earlier this year.

So far, 56 claims have been deemed eligible for compensation, including the 29 deaths and 27 injuries, the report showed.

Overall, the number of claims received for injuries and deaths was up almost 11 percent from 1,371 last week, according to the report. The rise is attributable in part to six new death claims, bringing the total number of death claims received by the automaker to 184, and to a continuing uptick in the number of claims for less-serious injuries – those that require hospitalization but do not cause serious permanent damage – from 1,108 to 1,240.

The program will continue to receive applications until Dec. 31 on behalf of individuals injured or killed in accidents they say were caused by the switch problem.

GM has given Feinberg, who has overseen compensation programs for high-profile catastrophes such as the 9/11 attacks and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, free rein to determine eligibility criteria and to approve or reject claims. The amount of compensation has not been capped, but GM has set aside at least $400 million to cover the costs.

Under the program’s protocol, eligible death claims can expect a payout of at least $1 million, depending on whether the deceased had any dependents or any other “extraordinary circumstances” applied.

Once claims are approved, Feinberg’s office makes cash offers to the eligible claimants. It has made 31 offers so far and 20 families have accepted the awards.

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GM Recalls Nearly 7,600 Chevy Caprices Over Transmission Issue


General Motors Co. will recall about 7,600 Chevrolet Caprice police vehicles for a transmission issue, making this the 75th safety recall action the auto maker has taken this year and putting the number of total vehicles recalled by the company in North America at well over 30 million, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The recall, posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday, covers certain 2011 through 2013 model year Caprices. The vehicles are police patrol cruisers equipped with a specific transmission selector lever that contains two pins that can become displaced.

If the pins get displaced, the driver may be able to shift the vehicle from “park” without depressing the brake pedal or remove the ignition key without the transmission being in “park.” The situation may lead to vehicles rolling away.

This is the second time in three days the auto maker has recalled certain Caprice models. The company had recalled some versions of the 2011 and 2013 model years for an ignition switch issue. A bumping of the ignition key could cause the switch to move from “on” to “accessory,” thereby disabling the air bags.

This also marks the seventh recall issued by the company since Thursday.

The company has now recalled approximately 30,011,650 vehicles in North America this year after pledging to take quicker action to spot and react to problems in the wake of its failure to recall 2.6 million cars with an ignition switch problem for about 11 years.

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GM Compensation Fund Approves 24 Death Claims Related to Ignition Switch Recall


DETROIT, Mich. – The number of approved death compensation claims related to a recall of a faulty General Motors ignition switch now stands at 24, up from 19 last month, reported Michigan Live.

The claims were approved by a fund set up by GM to compensate victims of a defective part in mid-to-late-2000s model cars that has led to a massive recall and a federal investigation.

The victim compensation fund is being overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, a prominent Washington, D.C. attorney who oversaw similar compensation facilities for disasters such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The latest tally of claims received stands at 1,130, including 165 death claims, 79 “Category One” injury claims, or those resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns, and 886 “Category Two” injury claims, or injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident.

To date, there have been 40 claims determined eligible, including the 24 death claims, as well as four Category One injury claims and 12 Category Two claims.

The deadline for filing a compensation claim is Dec. 31. GM has estimated that compensating all victims of the defective car part could cost the Detroit automaker anywhere from $400-600 million.

GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including 2.2 million in the U.S., affected by the ignition switch. The recall includes 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2007-2010 Saturn Skys, 2005-2011 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstices, and 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models.

The faulty ignition switches at the heart of the unprecedented recall can move out of the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” positions, leading to a loss of power. The risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off road or experiences some jarring event, including rough roads. If the key turns to one of those positions, officials say the front air bags may not work if there’s a crash.

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