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.The complaint states that under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act and its accompanying regulations, the manufacturer must promptly inform the Secretary of Transportation when it learns that a vehicle contains a defect and that defect is related to motor vehicle safety. Hagens Berman intends to prove that G.M. violated the TREAD Act and the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, and committed fraudulent concealment by failing to disclose the deadly ignition switch defects to the federal government and consumers. 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. Reports published in 2005 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. “Asking consumers to lighten their key chains to solve this widespread, potentially fatal safety defect is akin to asking them to wear a helmet because the seatbelts aren’t working right. The proper course would be to alert them to the problem and then fix the broken part,” added Rob Carey, a partner in Hagens Berman’s Phoenix office. The suit seeks to award affected consumers the greater of actual or statutory damages under consumer-protection laws, along with other damages for owners of vehicles with ignition switch safety defects, and punitive damages.
Concerned consumers who have owned or leased any of the affected G.M. models during the affected period are encouraged to contact a Hagens Berman attorney by emailing GeneralMotors@HBSSlaw.com or calling 206-623-7292. Additional information about the investigation is available at www.hbsslaw.com/GM.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.