The family and the lawsuit behind General Motor’s ignition switch recall
Brooke Melton was killed when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt spun out of control, hit another vehicle, and flipped off the road.
Her parents, Ken and Beth, knew Brooke to be a very safe driver. They felt sure that something had gone wrong with her car, and contacted an attorney.
The law firm, with the help of engineering experts, discovered the ignition switch problem that stalled the car and caused Brooke’s death.
That discovery led to a recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles with a dangerous safety flaw.
Although it was their lawsuit that prompted the big recall, the Melton’s initial claim was settled out of court before trial.
Shortly after that, a Congressional investigation found GM was aware of the ignition switch problem for years.
The company decided not to replace the part: it would cost
90 57 cents per switch, but the company would only save 10-15 cents per warranty.
There’s no amount of money …
Some people don’t believe in lawsuits, especially after the death of one’s child, because no amount of money can bring that person back.
That is true. It is also true that after losing a child, no parent cares about the money. But, the only common language we share with big corporations is money damages.
In other words, General Motors won’t change their dangerous practices just because they like you, and they don’t want you to die.
If that were true, GM would have paid a few cents to put a safe ignition switch Brooke Melton’s Chevy. And she – and least 70 others like her – would not have been injured or killed.
The Meltons contacted a skilled trial attorney after their daughter’s death, and brought this scandal to light via lawsuit.
For breaking the laws on reporting and recalls, GM was fined $35 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It was about 1% of the company’s earnings that year.