Why Lawsuits Matter to Safety – GM Recall was 9 years and 6 deaths too late
Why Lawsuits Matter to Safety
Many people only associate lawsuits with negative feelings, but lawsuits can be vital to your safety. Why is the Ford Pinto no longer available? Lawsuits. What improved the protection of your airbags and seat belts? Lawsuits. What changed the way your baby’s crib was manufactured to prevent deaths? Lawsuits.
A more recent example of this can be seen with GM’s nine-years-too late recall of the 2005 Cobalt and Pontiac G5. Lance Cooper, attorney at The Cooper Firm, settled a lawsuit against GM in which 29-year-old Brooke Melton, died due to a defect that GM knew about since 2004. The case was Melton vs. General Motors. The defect causes the car’s ignition switch to move unexpectedly and unintentionally from the RUN to ACC position, which then cuts power to the engine, the anti-lock brakes, and the power steering. That is exactly what happened to Brooke Melton. She died in 2010 when her 2005 Cobalt slipped into accessory position as she was driving down Highway 92 in Paulding County, Georgia. Because she lost power to so many essential systems on her car, she lost control and skidded into another vehicle.
GM knew of the defect in 2004, during production stage, but went on to sell the vehicles regardless. Complaints were sent to GM immediately about the issue, and GM tried to cover the issue with a “fix” that would change the ignition key from a slot hole to a key hole. This did not solve the issue, however. After handling Brooke’s case, Lance Cooper sent a request to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) to open a Timeliness Query Investigation about GM’s official response to an earlier NHTSA investigation. So far, NHTSA has still not asked GM to amend its prior response (called a Part 573 Notice) to include the deaths that GM recently acknowledged in its more recent press releases.
Cooper says that the decision to continue to market the Cobalt, despite the known defect, was a cost thing which ended up costing six people their lives. “It’s bone-chilling. GM recognized the defect. If it would have just fixed it, I have no doubt that Brooke Melton would be alive today. I am a conservative trial lawyer and I am conservative in my beliefs that the federal government often doesn’t do a good job, and you need the private market–in this case, the jury system—to let individuals investigate and hold companies like GM accountable.”
To read the full story check out the USA Today article: Lawsuit: GM knew of Cobalt ignition problem & Lawyer asks feds to force GM to explain recall timing.
For more news regarding the GM recall and can Cobalt ignition problem including interviews with CBS and Channel 2 Action news, please visit our News Page here.