A key ruling for General Motors in its second ignition switch trial. Bloomberg reports the automaker’s won a partial victory after the judge threw out a fraud claim against the company. The ruling could play a role in hundreds of other upcoming cases.
Specifically, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman dismissed a driver’s claim that GM made false or misleading statements about the defect in its cars. The judge says the driver, Dionne Spain, didn’t provide enough evidence to prove it.
Spain is suing GM over a 2014 accident she had in her 2007 Saturn. Her car crashed while on an icy New Orleans bridge. One other person was in the car with her.
The judge also earlier rejected other claims including a demand for punitive damages.
So what’s next? Federal jurors in a Manhattan court still get the case. They’ll weigh whether Spain’s Saturn had a defect and, if so, whether it led caused the crash.
“Dismissing the fraudulent misrepresentation claim was the right decision because there was not sufficient evidence presented at trial to even send it to the jury to decide,” GM spokesman Jim Cain said in an e-mailed statement.
GM’s admitted to hiding the faulty ignition switch flaw for years. It led to the recall of millions of vehicles in 2014. GM’s already paid out more than $2 billion to resolve legal issues, a criminal probe by the U.S. government and to set up a victims compensation fund. However, the automaker is challenging lawsuits it believes wrongfully blame the flaw for crashes, injuries and deaths.
Bloomberg reports that an e-mail to lawyers for Spain wasn’t immediately returned.