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General Motors settles ignition-switch cases

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General Motors Co said on Monday it settled the last two so-called bellwether cases stemming from a faulty ignition switch linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

The settlement came on the eve of what would have been the fourth in a series of test trials intended to help GM and the plaintiffs define settlement options in 234 injury and death lawsuits consolidated in Manhattan federal court.

One of the two cases, which had been set for a Sept. 12 trial, was filed by Virginia resident Stephanie Cockram, who sued GM over injuries she said she sustained in a June 28, 2011 single-vehicle crash while driving a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Another trial was scheduled for later this year.

It would have been the fourth trial on the issue. The first was voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs during the trial, and GM was cleared of liability in two others. One case was settled before trial.
“We have an agreement to settle the last two federal bellwether cases,” The company said in a statement on Monday.

GM has paid roughly $2 billion in criminal and civil penalties and settlements in connection with the switch. The company previously acknowledged that some of its employees knew about the switch defect for years before a recall was initiated.

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