Judge Narrows Claims in Ignition Switch Defect Lawsuits

Order Reprints

Aug. 8, 2019—General Motors persuaded the U.S. federal judge who oversees nationwide litigation over defective ignition switches to narrow claims by owners who said their vehicles lost value because of the defect, according to a report by Reuters

GM has recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles since 2014 over ignition switches that could cause engines to stall and prevent air bags from deploying. 

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said owners in California, Missouri and Texas could not seek damages based on the difference in value between what they paid for their defective vehicles and what the vehicles are really worth. The judge also said that, while damages could be measured by costs to repair defective vehicles, they could end up being zero if GM footed the bill.

He said the owners’ failure to show the fair market value of their vehicles, despite testimony from an expert witness, created an “absence of evidence on an essential element” of their claims, making it impossible for a jury to assess damages.

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