The first of six “bellwether” GM ignition switch lawsuits was voluntarily dismissed by the Oklahoma man who initiated it against the automaker following a car accident in May 2014.
During the trial, which took place in a Manhattan Federal Court, evidence emerged that suggested the man had provided inaccurate and dishonest testimony about his financial situation after the accident occurred.
The man’s misleading financial information pertained to a loss of funds and an eviction notice that allegedly resulted from injuries the man sustained in the auto accident.
The Plaintiff's Basis for the Lawsuit
In May 2014, the Oklahoma man crashed his 2003 Saturn Ion into a tree. Initially, he claimed a defective ignition switch had prevented his vehicle’s airbags from deploying, which in turn caused him to suffer severe and debilitating neck and back injuries.
According to the man, he was not able to pay his mortgage, due to the fact that his injuries were so severe that he was unable to work.
The man also stated that he had accrued thousands of dollars in medical debt, which also contributed to his inability to pay his mortgage.
Four months after the accident, the man and his wife were evicted from their new home in Oklahoma.
GM's Reason for Dismissal
Attorneys representing GM argued that the man had never had enough money to pay his mortgage, because a real estate agent had come forward with a bank check the man had altered to show the “proof of funds” necessary for him to purchase the home from which he was later evicted.
GM’s attorneys contended the man’s eviction was a result of him fraudulently altering a check to indicate that he made more money and fell into a higher income bracket than he actually did.
Although the man’s financial discrepancies were not directly related to why the airbags did not deploy in his vehicle, the judge who was overseeing the case felt the man’s credibility was too questionable to continue with the trial.
The man then agreed to have his lawsuit dismissed with prejudice, meaning he will not be able to file any additional lawsuits against GM pertaining to his May 2014 accident. The man also agreed not to take any monetary compensation from GM for its potential liability in the crash.
The trial for the second of the six bellwether civil lawsuits against GM is set to begin in March.
The term “bellwether” is derived from an Old English word meaning “first” or “leader,” as the results of these six trials could potentially determine the results of thousands of other similar lawsuits against the automaker.
In February 2014, GM began recalling 2.6 million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches that, if jostled, can cause the vehicles’ engines to lose power and their airbags to be disabled.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that may have been caused by a defective vehicle part, you may be eligible to file a product liability claim and receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact the experienced product liability attorneys at Schmidt Kramer today. We can help you determine your legal options, and what your next step should be.