Judge rules GM cannot be sued for deaths related to faulty ignition switch

Judge rules GM cannot be sued for deaths related to faulty ignition switch

A federal judge handed General Motors a multi-billion-dollar reprieve Wednesday, ruling that the company could not be sued in hundreds of death and injury claims related to the defective ignition switches that are estimated to have killed more than 80 people.

According to Judge Robert Gerber, GM’s government-overseen bankruptcy and reorganization in 2009 shields it from liability for actions the company had made previously, despite claims by the families of people injured or killed by the ignitions that GM had been misleading the court at that time about the ignition-switch woes in older, smaller cars.

Lawyers in more than 140 lawsuits had argued to Judge Gerber, who also handled the company’s bankruptcy, that GM’s misleading the court effectively meant their clients never got a chance to dispute the bankruptcy on those grounds, and now are left with no recourse.

One plaintiffs’ attorney told the Associated Press that the ruling kneecaps a potential $7 billion to $10 billion in liability judgments.

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