A Manhattan federal judge has decided today that the first trial in consolidated litigation against General Motors will occur on January 11th, 2016, reports. The so-called bellwether, or test trial, will involve a personal injury or wrongful death case, with the outcome providing guidance for further cases filed against GM. The case that will be tried has yet to be selected.
Currently, about 130 lawsuits have been filed against GM in the wake of the company's massive recall over faulty ignition switches. These cases pertain to personal injury or wrongful death stemming from accidents where a malfunctioning ignition switch may have caused the car to inadvertently shut off while driving.
The lawsuits by victims come in the wake of a muddled government response to the ignition switch failures in many older GM vehicles, and controversy about what GM and the government knew, and when. GM has already been fined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its failure to report to the government its knowledge of the issue in a timely manner, despite the government's knowledge of the issue (and failure to act on it) since 2004.