Hagens Berman Opens Investigation On G.M. Safety Issues

Hagens Berman, a consumer law firm that recently settled a case on behalf of Toyota owners for $1.6 billion, has opened an investigation concerning claims by G.M. (NYSE: GM) car owners of potentially serious defects that could cause the cars’ engine and electrical system to shut off while the autos are in operation in 1.6 million G.M. cars – including operation of the airbag systems – a problem that has sparked a government inquiry and has reportedly led to at least 12 deaths and more than 300 crashes.

Those who have experienced issues with the electric systems shutting down or are concerned with the safety of their G.M. vehicles are urged to contact Hagens Berman by emailing generalmotors@hbsslaw.com or by visiting www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/general-motors.

Earlier this year, G.M. began recalling vehicles in the U.S., including 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2007 Pontiac G5 models and last month extended the recall to include 2003-7 Saturn Ions, 2006-7 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-7 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky models.

According to published reports and government documents, G.M. had knowledge of the serious defect as early as 2001, but critics charge that the company ignored warnings of the defect’s severity and did not warn consumers.

“We are looking closely at this case and developing a range of legal approaches that we believe will give consumers the best chance at recovering damages from G.M. if the allegations of wrongdoing prove to be true,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead counsel of the recently completed Toyota sudden unintended acceleration litigation. “The bottom line is that more than a million owners drove cars with a dangerous defect for years because G.M. didn’t want to come clean, and I will use all my resources and experience to figure out the best way to make the owners safe and whole.”

Berman was appointed co-lead counsel representing Toyota owners and in 2013 negotiated a $1.6 billion settlement on behalf of consumers who owned or leased Toyota vehicles implicated in a rash of cases of unintended acceleration.

“Our firm has seen this sort of alleged behavior by automakers before, and the impact of G.M.’s silence in this instance, if true, is almost beyond belief,” said Rob Carey, an attorney with Hagens Berman. “Based on the facts uncovered so far it seems G.M. knew that the defect could put drivers in grave danger, but for reasons we expect to uncover, decided they would remain silent rather than warn the driving public.”

In 2005, published reports state that G.M. issued a service bulletin for some G.M. vehicles, telling dealers to warn drivers to remove “unnecessary items from their key chains,” a warning that was extended a year later to a broader range of G.M. vehicles. Reports also state that G.M. said that it corrected the problem in new cars starting in 2007.

“We want to understand why G.M. didn’t warn drivers who were still operating the defective system,” Carey added.

About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm represents investors, whistleblowers, workers and consumers in complex litigation. More about the Hagens Berman and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010