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Brooke Melton’s Family Settles Second GM Ignition Switch Lawsuit


The family of a young woman who was killed in an automobile accident connected to the General Motors (GM) defective ignition switch has just settled a second lawsuit with the company for an undisclosed amount.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the young woman’s death started the ball rolling on the GM ignition switch recalls that began in February 2014.

Young Woman’s Death Spurs National Recall

On March 10, 2010, 29-year-old Brooke Melton was driving her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt on a rainy night in Paulding County, Georgia, when she lost control of the vehicle. It collided with another vehicle and dropped 15 feet into a creek. Brook was pronounced dead shortly afterward at the hospital.

Though the police concluded the driver was going too fast for the road conditions (58 in a 55 mile-per-hour zone), Brooke’s parents, Ken and Beth, suspected something else had gone wrong. Facing claims from the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the GM.

During the discovery process before the trial, the defendant produced documents revealing that engineers had discovered a problem with the ignition switch in the Cobalt during production, but failed to correct the issue. Melton’s vehicle was found to contain the same defective switch, which meant that it could have shifted into the “off” or “accessory” position while the vehicle was running, robbing power from the brakes, steering, and air bags.

Melton’s parents, according to CNN, stated that according to an investigation by experts hired through their legal team, the data recorder on the Cobalt showed the ignition switch had turned away from the “run” position to the “accessory” position seconds before the crash. The fact that Brooke’s air bag did not deploy also seemed to indicate that the power was not on.

The Family Files a Second Ignition Switch Lawsuit

The Meltons settled their first claim with GM in September 2013 for a sum of $5 million. A few months later, GM began what would become a series of recalls of vehicles with defective ignition switches. By the end of the year, the automaker held the record for the most vehicles recalled in any single year.

The more they learned, the more the Meltons believed that the automaker had known about the ignition switch problem for years, and had failed to take action that may have saved their daughter’s life. In January 2014, they asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) to open a “recall timeliness query,” since they believed GM was extremely late in correcting the ignition switch problem.

In May 2014, the Meltons re-filed their claims against GM. They asserted that the company had concealed critical evidence concerning the defect, and had made false assertions during the original trial concerning what their employees knew about the design problems. They went on to say that they would not have agreed to the settlement had they known these issues.

Second Case Settled for Undisclosed Amount

On March 13, 2015, the Melton’s GM lawyers announced that the family had reached a second settlement with GM, though the terms remain confidential.

Kenneth Feinberg, who ran the independent GM settlement fund that has been reviewing claims since August of 2014, was reported to have played an active role in the settlement.

GM remains under federal investigation for its mishandling of the ignition switch defect. GM was also fined $35 million by the NHTSA for failing to disclose the problem to government authorities.


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  1. Greg says:
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    I was injured in a GM vehicle I believe had a ignition switch defect. The car lost power steering and upon impact the air bags did not deploy. I was 11 years old at the time & am now paralyzed. The accident happend prior to bankruptcy. Thankfully, GM saved some money instead of paying out to people under similar circumstances. They deserve it (unreal)

  2. thomas kerns says:
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    GM corp are mass murderers lie the manson family killers. As mass killers they need to be punished to the highest standard…

  3. thomas kerns says:
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    my car 2005 colbalt crashed ending two young girls lives seriously injuring another.GM knew this was a dangerous car and did nothing. they knew people were dying in these unsafe car and did nothing. when confronted they lied for ten years.killers yes child killers at that young kids died. for greed status and auto industry top dog shame on you Mary Berra and others.