Have some lawyers gone too far?
You'd think by now that the GM ignition switch debacle would be settled, much like the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. But it's not, at least for some money hungry lawyers and other folks who firmly believe they were injured because of GM's defect. Bloomberg reports that a New York judge has thrown out two cases pertaining to ignition switch failures. Lawyers were representing plaintiffs in two bellwether cases who alleged their ignition switches rotated off while they were driving, resulting in power being cut to the steering and braking systems.
But what makes these plaintiffs different from the other ones who were part of a major $600 million settle last January? They claimed the switches rotated back to the "run" position just a few seconds before impact, resulting in the airbags deploying as intended. For the already settled cases, the airbags did not deploy because the ignition switch actually turned off the cars. The judge in this latest case, in his ruling, stated that the ignition switch double rotation was simply a "theoretical possibility" and could not be proven. Furthermore, the judge stated the experts' opinions regarding double rotation could and did occur in these situations relies on unproven statements and "speculation than it does on actually scientific or technical expertise."
This is good news for GM because this ruling may set a precedent that could end addition unresolved lawsuits over other ignition switch injuries and wrongful death claims. Why? Because those lawsuits, a total of 1,723 of them, were not included in the $600 million settlement in which GM admitted fault. Other judges presiding over those other lawsuits could cite this specific New York judge's ruling as reason for dismissal.