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Supreme Court declines to hear General Motors ignition-switch appeal

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday refused to hear an appeal by General Motors (GM) [corporate website] on its potential liability for ignition-switch defects. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] had ruled [opinion] against General Motors' argument that it was not liable for the defects because they were made before it formed a new company following Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2015, the court held that GM was, in fact, open to liability for the ignition-switch defects. With the Supreme Court's refusal to hear GM's appeal, the currently pending claims against GM will move forward. The claims have been estimated [Reuters report] to be worth between $7 billion and $10 billion.

GM has already settled [JURIST report] for $900 million with the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] to stop a criminal probe by the US, $575 million to settle a shareholder suit and more than 1,380 civil cases by victims, and $595 million through a victims' compensation fund outside of court. In recent years other car manufacturers have also faced legal issues for allegedly failing to address malfunctions. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced [JURIST report] in July that it imposed a $105 million penalty against Fiat Chrysler [corporate website] for its failure to provide a remedy and notices for 23 recalls related to automobile malfunctions. In 2014 the DOJ announced a $1.2 billion settlement [JURIST report] agreement with Toyota for misleading customers and US regulators. In November 2012 Toyota settled [JURIST report] a class action lawsuit for $35.5 million brought by its shareholders failing to disclose vehicle quality issues.

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