AUSTIN – On Oct. 19, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a $120 million multi-state settlement with General Motors Company over allegations GM concealed safety issues related to ignition-switch-related defects in GM vehicles.
The settlement, reached between the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia, concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects associated with unintended key- rotation-related and/or ignition-switch-related issues in several models and model years of GM vehicles. GM agreed to pay the participating attorneys general a total of $120 Million, of which Texas’ share is $7,353,446, according to a press release.
“We’ve held GM accountable for the danger posed to Texans by their defective ignition switches.” Paxton said.
In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls involving defective ignition switches which, under certain conditions, could move out of the “Run” position to the “Accessory” or “Off” position. If this occurs, the driver experiences a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes. If a collision occurs while the ignition switch is in the “Accessory” or “Off” position, the vehicle’s safety airbags may fail to deploy.
As the states alleged, certain employees of GM and its predecessor, General Motors Corporation, knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect. Despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition switch.
Under a consent judgment, GM shall not represent motor vehicles as “safe” unless they comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards, instruct its dealers that all recall repairs must be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. is eligible for certification, and not represent that certified pre-owned vehicles are safe or have been repaired or inspected for safety issues unless the vehicles are not subject to any open recalls.