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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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GM Ignition Switch Cases Consolidated in St. Louis, Missouri

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Key In Ignition

Langdon & Emison has filed a number of GM ignition switch lawsuits in Missouri state court in the City of St. Louis.  These cases were consolidated under Missouri’s Rule 52.05(a), which allows for cases with similar issues to be consolidated and resolved more quickly.  With the cases combined, our clients can benefit from a more efficient process with local control by state judges.  Each of the cases relate to the faulty ignition switch defect and General Motors has not sought to remove the cases to federal court.

For some ignition switch victims, the fund overseen by Kenneth Feinberg may provide adequate compensation.  For others, the fund either fails to provide full or even adequate compensation and for many, the settlement fund does not apply at all.  With more than 16 million vehicles recalled in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, there will be many for whom the Feinberg settlement model simply does not apply and those cases will benefit from consolidation with other similar plaintiffs.

GM Acknowledges 33 Deaths From Ignition Switch Defect

General MotorsThe Feinberg settlement program has shed some light on the extent of the problem.  Originally, General Motors acknowledged only 13 deaths caused by the defect.  Today, that number has nearly tripled to 33 deaths that GM has admitted were caused by the ignition switch defect.

The Feinberg settlement fund is set to close to new applications on December 31 – potentially leaving millions of victims unable to receive compensation without filing a lawsuit.  Feinberg announced yesterday this deadline would be extended by one month.  GM is sending 850,000 letters to newly registered owners to notify them of the program.  These – and other GM owners – will have until January 31, 2015 to register for the Feinberg settlement program.

Settlement Program Insufficient for Many

A report in the Detroit News found that 2,105 claims had been submitted to the Feinberg settlement program.  These claims include 217 death claims and 128 claims for very serious injuries.

GM Ignition Timeline

Of the 217 death claims, 31 have been ruled ineligible and excluded wholly from the program; 77 death claims have been deemed deficient and may be excluded from the program.  Another 27 claims are currently under review.  This means that nearly 15% of claims have been rejected outright while only 15% of death claims have been acknowledged thus far.  Another 57% have been found to be deficient or lacking sufficient documentation and may be rejected.

The settlement program has approved only 39 injury claims.

GM has recalled more than 30 million vehicles this year including 26.5 million vehicles in the United States.  About 16.5 million of those recall were for the ignition switch defect.  Yet only 2.6 million vehicle (about 15%) qualify for consideration under Feinberg settlement program.

Those who have had their claims rejected by Mr. Feinberg, those who opt out of the program, and those who miss the deadline will be forced to file civil lawsuits to recover their damages.  Consolidation – like that in Missouri – will help these victims resolve their cases with more speed and efficiency.

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© Copyright 2014 Brett A. Emison

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