* GM has recalled 1.6 million vehicles over faulty ignition
* Case is among growing number of lawsuits against GM after
* Lawsuit says GM concealed knowledge of the defect
By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, March 25 A former employee of Delphi
Automotive has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit claiming
General Motors Co concealed a faulty ignition switch that
was responsible for a crash that killed his daughter.
The lawsuit was brought by Steve Smith in Alabama state
court on Monday, and names GM as a defendant, as well as Delphi,
which supplied the ignition switch to GM.
GM recalled 1.6 million vehicles in February, despite
learning of problems with the ignition switch as early as 2001
and issuing related service bulletins to dealers with suggested
remedies in 2005. GM has linked the ignition
switch problems to 12 deaths. The company has apologized for how
it handled the recall.
A spokesman for GM, Jim Cain, declined to comment on the
lawsuit. A spokeswoman for Delphi did not immediately return a
request for comment.
According to the complaint, Smith's daughter, Aubrey Wallace
Williams, was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt on a highway in
Alabama when the ignition switch failed, causing the engine to
shut off and turning off power in the vehicle. The car became
uncontrollable and crossed into a different lane where it struck
an 18-wheeler truck, the complaint said. Williams was killed
instantly, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit did not specify how much Smith is seeking in
damages. It said that GM and Delphi knew about the ignition
switch problem but failed to take steps to address it, resulting
in Williams' death.
The automaker has said it is moving as fast as it can to
repair vehicles with the faulty ignition switches.
Smith retired about three years ago. He did not design, work
on or have any other involvement with the ignition switch,
according to his lawyer, Jere Beasley, of the firm Beasley
GM has faced a growing number of lawsuits since the recall
was announced. Numerous proposed class actions have been filed
by customers who say their vehicles lost value or were unusable
as a result of the defect.
GM has also been hit with at least one wrongful death
lawsuit on behalf of three teenage girls who were injured or
killed in a 2006 accident involving a recalled 2005 Chevy
(Editing by Noeleen Walder and Matthew Lewis)