Potential Punitive Damages In GM Ignition Switch Defect Lawsuits

This site has highlighted various aspects of the GM ignition switch defect, including the legal liability faced over the issue. These prior posts can be found can be found in the “Auto Defects” category.

Another aspect concerning the legal liability and lawsuits regarding this defective ignition switch issue is whether GM might face punitive damages in the various lawsuits that have been filed and are expected to be filed.

A June 10, 2014 Bloomberg article, titled “GM Lawyers Told Carmaker of Switch-Defect Punitive Risk” discusses the issue.

A couple of excerpts:

General Motors Co. (GM)’s lawyers have warned the carmaker it might face punitive damages over ignition switch defects if its customers go to trial, creating an urgent need to settle lawsuits.


In at least four cases since 2010, GM was told by outside lawyers that jurors might grant accident victims “substantial” or “punitive” awards if they heard of the company’s failures to fix a long-known fault, according to the Valukas report, commissioned by GM to examine its handling of the ignition switch defect.

“I suspect the amount to settle those cases went up significantly after the report’s release,” said Peter Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit who has written about the automaker’s litigation.

Additional details can be found in the Bloomberg article mentioned above.

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