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investigation 223 articles

Plaintiffs’ lawyers demand fair compensation terms for victims of GM ignition switch flaw

Lawyers from Beasley Allen and other firms representing plaintiffs harmed in crashes involving defective General Motors (GM) ignition switches say they are happy with the automaker’s plans for a victims’ compensation fund to some extent, but concerns remain about whether the fund would adequately punish GM and compensate some of the victims. GM CEO Mary Barra told a Congressional panel June 18 that the compensation fund would not be capped and that plaintiffs harmed before the company’s 2009 bankruptcy, which diminished much of its liability for pre-bankruptcy crashes, would be covered under the fund. Ms. Barra directed questions about the ... Read More

NTSB blames Asiana 214 crash on pilot error, cites additional contributing factors

Pilot error was the cause of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport, according to a unanimous vote by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the July 2013 crash. NTSB investigators said that the pilots mismanaged the descent into San Francisco and failed to abort the landing for another attempt before it was too late. The crash killed three people and injured 187 of the 307 passengers, some of them critically. The airplane had departed from Seoul and descended into San Francisco lower and slower than the pilots intended. The Boeing 777 struck a ... Read More

Airbag defect triggers recall of nearly 3 million Honda, Mazda, Nissan vehicles

Three major Japanese automakers have recalled nearly 3 million vehicles worldwide to fix potentially faulty airbags made in the U.S. and Mexico by Tokyo-based Takata Corp. The June 23 recalls encompass Honda, Mazda, and Nissan vehicles and widen a previous April 2013 recall that failed to include all the affected vehicles due to record-keeping problems at Takata. The Takata airbag problem stems from glitches in the inflator propellant. During the manufacturing process, improper storage of the components at the factories likely degraded them, making them prone to explode and send metal shrapnel into the vehicle’s cabin. The latest Takata recall ... Read More

Chia seeds recalled after the health food was linked to salmonella poisonings

At least 21 people have been infected with salmonella bacteria after eating chia seed powder, prompting a product recall and a multistate health investigation. Chia seeds are a health food product commonly blended into smoothies or into snacks to enhance diets with added nutrients and curb appetite for weight loss. The seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico, and are the same seeds used to sprout grass-like “fur” on clay figurines called Chia Pets. These illnesses are the first to link the food borne illness salmonella to chia seed powder. The salmonella bacteria is most often found ... Read More

GM employee warned company of Impala ignition stall in 2005, emails show

A General Motors (GM) employee whose 2006 Chevy Impala suddenly stalled as she drove onto a gravel surface from a paved road warned company officials that GM should issue a “big recall” to fix an ignition switch defect that went unheeded for several more years. According to GM’s internal emails made public on Wednesday, GM employee Laura Andres sent an email to company engineers in 2005 documenting her own experience with a sudden stall. Ms. Andres said in the email that a technician who examined her Impala said the car’s ignition switch may have been at fault. “I think this ... Read More

Huntsville plane crash kills three, NTSB investigating

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash of a private business jet that ran off the runway at Huntsville International Airport (HSV) Wednesday afternoon, killing three men. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that a Westwind II departing from HSV ran off the right side of runway 18 at approximately 2:25 p.m. Two of the three passengers aboard the airplane were thrown from the jet on impact, according to an FAA spokesperson. Most of the aircraft was consumed by a fire that erupted on impact, authorities said. The victims were identified as William Ross ... Read More

Texas woman blamed for fiancé’s car crash death sues GM after it admits link to ignition switch defect

Candice Anderson, the Texas woman who was tried and convicted for killing her fiancé in a 2004 crash has filed a lawsuit against General Motors (GM) after discovering the automaker knew all along its ignition switch defect caused the crash. In Nov. 2004, Ms. Anderson was driving her 2004 Saturn Ion in Canton, Texas, with her fiancé Mikale Erickson when she lost control of the vehicle upon entering a slight curve in the road. The car left the road and crashed into a tree, throwing both driver and passenger through the windshield. Because the crash occurred in a rural part of Texas, an hour passed ... Read More

GM no longer paying daily ignition switch recall fines

General Motors (GM) is no longer paying federal fines for failing to answer questions about its handling of defective ignition switches and its failure to recall vehicles affected by the potentially deadly flaw. The automaker has been racking up fines of $7,000 per day since April 3, the deadline set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The safety regulator stopped the fines on April 5, the day GM turned in a 315-page report documenting the results of an internal investigation commissioned by GM. Total fines GM amassed came to about $430,000. NHTSA also fined GM $35 million for ... Read More

Toyota recall of potentially exploding airbag triggers federal investigation

Toyota said it is re-recalling 766,300 cars and trucks in the U.S. for a potential airbag defect that could result in front seat occupants being struck by shrapnel blasting out of the inflating airbags. The company is also expanding the recall to include 2.3 million vehicles worldwide for the same problem, triggering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate Tokyo-based supplier Takata, which produced the faulty airbag units. Toyota originally recalled the affected vehicles in April 2013, mainly for inspection of the airbag assemblies and possible replacement of the inflator. But the carmaker has since learned that Takata ... Read More

The “GM nod” illustrates GM’s incompetent handling of deadly ignition switches

Last week, General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra told GM employees and journalists that an internal investigation of the way the company handled its deadly ignition switch problem did not find a “conspiracy by the corporation to cover up the facts.”  However, the investigation did reveal something equally bad, if not worse: a company defined by incompetence and willful ignorance. One of the defining characteristics of GM’s corporate culture was, according to the report by investigator Anton Valukas, the “GM nod,” which he described as a situation “when everyone nods in agreement to a proposed plan of action, but then ... Read More