clear
Saturday May 30th, 2015 2:36AM

GM allegedly seeking bankruptcy shield from Ga. lawsuit

By The Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) -- Lawyers for a Georgia family that is trying to reopen a wrongful death lawsuit against General Motors say the company is trying to move the case to federal court so it can use bankruptcy as a shield from the claim.<br /> <br /> The lawyers, Lance Cooper and Jere Beasley, said Wednesday in a statement that GM's court filings run counter to a promise made by GM CEO Mary Barra to fairly compensate families of people killed or those injured in crashes caused by defective ignition switches.<br /> <br /> GM spokesman Greg Martin called the company's filings procedural.<br /> <br /> A federal bankruptcy judge in New York ruled in 2009 that the new GM is shielded from claims stemming from cars made before the company emerged from bankruptcy protection. Instead, the claims go against the old GM, which has limited assets. The judge now is being asked to decide if he will allow claims against the new company.<br /> <br /> Cooper and Beasley say moving the case to federal court would allow the company to use the bankruptcy to send claims to the old GM.<br /> <br /> Ken and Beth Melton sued GM three years ago in Cobb County, Georgia, in the death of their daughter, Brooke Melton, in 2010. The 29-year-old nurse died when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt skidded on a county road, hit another car and ended up in a creek.<br /> <br /> The lawsuit alleged that Brooke Melton, a pediatric nurse, was killed after the Cobalt lost power due to a faulty ignition switch, causing her to lose control of the car. The Meltons settled the case last September, but Cooper and Beasley filed a lawsuit in May seeking to set aside the settlement and reopen the case, alleging that GM fraudulently concealed evidence.<br /> <br /> Research by Cooper's firm and depositions in the original lawsuit exposed a GM engineer's move to fix the defective switches and conceal his actions.<br /> <br /> GM ended up recalling 2.6 million older small cars starting in February to fix the switches, which the company says have caused 54 crashes and at least 13 deaths. GM acknowledged that it waited more than 10 years to recall the cars. A report from an outside attorney hired by GM blamed the delay on a dysfunctional corporate structure and misconduct or poor decisions by some employees. The attorney's report also indicates that the Meltons' case was settled for $5 million.<br /> <br /> The case has brought investigations from Congress and the Justice Department. Also, GM has agreed to pay a $35 million fine to the government's road safety agency. The automaker has hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to come up with a method of compensating victims.<br /> <br /> Feinberg said last week that a compensation plan is weeks away. So far, GM has announced or taken charges of $1.7 billion to cover the cost of the ignition switch and dozens of other recalls.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.
5:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 21
HOUSTON (AP) — Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 21 people dead and 11 ot...
11:09PM ( 2 days ago )
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 1 week ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )