General Motors Co has announced that it will seek protection from a US bankruptcy court against an increasing number of lawsuits relating to an ignition defect in its cars.
The defect is alleged to have caused accidents that led to at least 13 deaths and resulted in the recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles.
GM wants to use the litigation shield it gained as part of its 2009 bankruptcy which protected it against over 2500 lawsuits at the time. Most of the plaintiffs in those lawsuits received only pennies on the dollar as a result.
According to court documents, filed with U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Car maker asked for the court to stop any litigation related to ignition claims until the court decides on a motion to consolidate the claims and the bankruptcy court rules on whether the claims violate GM’s 2009 bankruptcy sale order.
GM said it will “shortly” file a motion with the federal bankruptcy judge in New York to enforce an injunction contained in its sale order, which the company said protects it against plaintiffs intending to sue the reorganized company for any claims related to the predecessor company.
GM said it is facing at least 36 ignition switch lawsuits and the plaintiffs are seeking to widen their lawsuits into a class action against the car giant.
A GM spokesman declined to comment on the pending litigation.