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civil fines 51 articles

Congress sets hearings on GM ignition switch recall

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will testify before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee April 1 as lawmakers attempt to understand why the company she took over in mid-January knew about a potentially deadly ignition switch defect in some of its vehicles for more than a decade but failed to recall them until this past February. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will question Ms. Barra in an effort to understand if “this tragedy could have been prevented and what can be done to ensure the loss of life” doesn’t happen again. GM announced two recalls in February of 1.6 ... Read More

GM tried to repair ignition switch twice but didn’t tell authorities, drivers

General Motors changed an internal part of its defective ignition switches to make it harder for the key to fall out of position and turn off the engine, but didn’t tell drivers or regulators about the fix, according to a recent lawsuit filed by the parents of a Georgia woman who was killed in 2010 when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt shut down unexpectedly and crashed. The secret fix provides more evidence that GM has known about the ignition switch defect for years but failed to properly notify authorities and warn its drivers. According to the lawsuit filed by the parents ... Read More

GM announces three new safety recalls involving 1.5 million vehicles

General Motors (GM) has recalled another 1.5 million vehicles in three separate recalls to correct problems that could pose a threat to the safety of drivers and passengers of the affected models. The announcement comes just four weeks after GM started recalling millions of vehicles to correct defective ignition switches that have been blamed for several crashes and deaths in the past decade. One of the newest recalls addresses a problem affecting the wiring harness of seat-mounted airbags and includes 1.18 million 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia vehicles, 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUVs, and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook crossovers. Another ... Read More

Liability immunity may fail to shield “new” GM from ignition switch lawsuits

General Motors Co. (GM) is facing the first in a likely wave of personal-injury, wrongful-death, and product liability claims as evidence emerges that the company knew ignition switches in some of its models were defective but failed to warn drivers about the potentially deadly hazard and recall the affected vehicles in a timely manner – a move that could have saved many lives. Until now, those scarred by crashes involving the affected cars have had no legal recourse against GM, not just because they had no knowledge of the defect, but because GM received legal immunity when it was reorganized ... Read More

Study links 303 deaths to GM vehicles with defective ignition switch

As many as 303 people may have been killed in crashes involving General Motors (GM) vehicles with defective ignition switches, according to a study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington D.C.-based consumer watchdog group. GM recalled around 1.6 million automobiles this week. The recall addresses a defect in the ignition switch that may allow the key to slip from the “run” position if the keychain is overweight or the vehicle hits a bump, stalling the engine and cutting off power to the steering, brakes, and airbags. The Center for Auto Safety hired Friedman Research to analyze data from ... Read More

GM now subject of criminal investigation over ignition switch recall delay

Federal officials have opened a criminal probe into General Motors’ ignition switch recall to determine if and why the company waited more than a decade to correct the problem, which is blamed for 31 crashes involving airbag failure and the deaths of 13 people. Confidential sources told Reuters and the Associated Press that the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York will lead the investigation to determine whether GM could be held criminally liable for failing to abide by U.S. laws mandating that automakers notify federal regulators and issue a safety recall within five days of discovering a safety defect. Depositions taken from ... Read More

U.S. regulators order GM to explain its handling of ignition switch recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stepped up its investigation of General Motors Co. in the wake of a potentially deadly ignition switch recall, ordering the automaker to fill in the missing pieces of its chronology detailing the problem, which stretches back to 2004. On Feb. 13, GM recalled 780,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and certain Pontiac vehicles to repair an ignition switch problem that can allow the key to unintentionally slip from its “run” position when the car hits a bump or if the keychain is too heavy. As a result, the defect can cause an engine shutdown and loss of power ... Read More

GM faces steep fines for its failure to promptly recall faulty ignition switches

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into General Motors’ handling of an ignition switch defect that the company says may have contributed to 31 airbag failure incidents and 13 deaths. U.S. laws require automakers to notify federal regulators within five days of determining that a safety defect exists and promptly conduct a recall. Testimony given by GM engineers and company documents uncovered in the litigation of one wrongful death claim indicate that GM knew about the potentially deadly defect in 2004 when it started selling its 2005 Cobalts. However, the U.S. auto giant didn’t recall ... Read More

Illinois sues ExxonMobil over prolonged leak of toxic hydrogen sulfide gasses

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corporation after an equipment malfunction at the company’s Channahon Township refinery caused a release of hydrogen sulfide into the air that lasted nearly 10 hours. According to the complaint, the release started about 9 p.m. on March 1 and went undiscovered by refinery employees until approximately 6:45 a.m. the next morning. ExxonMobil notified the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Will County emergency officials, and other state and federal agencies of the toxic release. Company officials told state regulators that a pressure relief valve failed at the ... Read More

Alabama leaders express high hopes for BP oil spill fine money

President Obama signed the RESTORE Act into law Friday, a measure that will channel billions of dollars in BP oil spill fine money away from federal coffers, sending it instead directly to the Gulf Coast states to aid in environmental and economic recovery. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced the RESTORE Act in July 2011 in an effort to ensure most of the fines collected under the Clean Water Act would be invested on the Gulf Coast. Under federal law, such fines collected by the government are normally deposited in a general fund used for the cleanup ... Read More