News media stories about the faulty ignition switch in certain General Motors vehicles have been everywhere over the past several months. The issues have been complicated and not just from a legal standpoint. Many families have suffered the loss of a loved one allegedly due to car accidents caused when the switch inadvertently turned off, causing collisions without the deployment of air bags or other injury countermeasures. The car company officials have admitted knowing about the defect. A huge number of lawsuits and class actions have been filed.
It's reported that a Southern District of New York judge has scheduled the first consolidated litigation trial in federal court for Jan. 11, 2016. While the approximately 130 lawsuits included in the proceedings involve lost vehicle value claims as well, the bellwether trial will reportedly be a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Counsel for GM has separately requested that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court dismiss class action lawsuits seeking about $10 billion in compensation for lost value. Adding to the complex litigation is the fact that GM's reorganization under its Chapter 11 filing could preclude product liability claims relating to vehicles manufactured before the bankruptcy.