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GM Hit with Another Lawsuit Over Faulty Ignition Switch

May 14, 2014

A new lawsuit has been filed accusing General Motors of fraud and concealing evidence about the faulty ignition switches in a number of its small cars that have been linked to at least 13 deaths.

CNN reports this may be the first suit filed since documents became public showing that a part in the switches was changed without a change to the part number, a move that would have signaled the alteration. An attorney involved in the lawsuit said GM “secretly changed this part, then lied about it." He wants to know how many at GM were aware of the change.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ken and Beth Melton, parents of Brooke Melton, who died in 2010 in a collision involving her 2005 Chevy Cobalt and another car in Cobb County, Georgia. The Meltons sued GM over the crash and settled for an undisclosed sum last year, but now the family is accusing GM of fraud, according to CNN. During the first lawsuit, GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio said in a deposition that he did not authorize any changes to the switch. But documents given to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Congress showed that DeGiorgio did in fact sign off on a change to a key piece of the switch.

Since the beginning of this year, General Motors has recalled almost 2.6 million cars that may have faulty ignition switches. The defective switch, used in Chevrolet Cobalts and a number of other small GM cars, can suddenly switch off, disabling the car’s electrical systems and the air bags, which then will not deploy in a crash, according to The New York Times. GM has acknowledged the defect’s link to13 deaths, but investigators believe numerous other air bag failures may be linked to deaths.

GM is being investigated for its failure to initiate a recall for a safety problem that came to light more than ten years ago, the Times has reported. The Justice Department began an investigation in March and GM CEO Mary Barra recently testified before both branches of Congress.

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