General Motors, maker of the Chevy Cobalt that caused a woman’s death, is being sued a second time for concealing evidence of ignition problems in Chevy Cobalts before the first case was settled.
The first suit was filed when the woman, Brooke Melton, was killed in a car accident due to an ignition malfunction that caused the key to slip out of the “on” position, shutting off the car’s power steering and brakes. That lawsuit was settled for $5 million in 2013, and spurred a recall for 2.6 million GM vehicles.
The second lawsuit was filed when GM revealed to federal regulators that it knew of the ignition switch problems since as early as 2001. Melton’s parents filed the second suit last summer, claiming that GM willingly concealed evidence pertaining to the ignition switches, and that their key witness had committed perjury. “We want to know who at General Motors knew, and what General Motors is going to do in the future, and what happened to Brooke and who allowed it,” they stated after the settlement. The Meltons have returned the first settlement offer, and are not disclosing the amount of the second settlement. “The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Melton would be willing to take on a corporate giant and are directly responsible for alerting both the government and the public to a massive cover up by General Motors is one of the most courageous things I’ve experienced in my career as their attorney,” Attorney Jere Beasley said in a statement.
So far, the ignition switch problem has been responsible for 64 deaths and 108 injuries, yet GM is only holding itself officially accountable for 13 deaths, and Brooke Melton’s death is not among them, due to factors such as the crash was not a head-on collision, and the airbag was properly deployed. GM set aside a victim compensation fund earlier last year, but has since closed it. The automobile recall has so far cost GM $4.1 billion in repair costs, and has caused profits to fall $6.5 million, resulting in the company breaking even for the 2014 fiscal year.
If you have experienced wrongful death of a loved one due to product malfunction, the product liability lawyers of Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.