May 12 A Georgia couple who settled with General
Motors Co last year over their daughter's fatal car crash linked
to a faulty ignition switch has filed a new lawsuit against the
In a complaint filed in state court in Marietta, Georgia, on
Monday, Ken and Beth Melton accused GM of fraudulently
concealing critical evidence and allowing a company
representative to lie under oath.
They claimed that a lead design engineer for Cobalt ignition
switches repeatedly testified that he did not know of any design
change to the switches, and that GM affirmed those statements.
The company's recent disclosures to the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration and Congress have revealed those
assertions to be false, the Meltons' lawyers said in a statement
announcing the lawsuit on Monday.
"The Meltons would not have settled their case if they had
known of the perjury and concealment of critical evidence," said
the couple's attorney, Lance Cooper.
GM is facing dozens of lawsuits over the faulty ignition
switch that has led to the recall of some 2.6 million vehicles.
The defective switch is prone to being jostled into
accessory mode while the cars are moving, shutting off engines
and disabling power steering, power brakes and airbags. The
problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths.
A GM spokesman said in an emailed statement that the company
"denies the assertion that GM fraudulently concealed relevant
and critical facts in connection with the Melton matter."
The company denied it engaged in any improper behavior in
that lawsuit, he added.
Brooke Melton, 29, died in March 2010 after the ignition
switch on her 2005 Cobalt slipped into accessory mode and she
collided with another vehicle.
Melton's parents settled their original legal claims against
GM in September 2013.
On April 11, after GM issued its recall, the Meltons asked
the company to rescind their settlement, but it refused.
At least two other families who reached out-of-court
settlements with GM over fatal crashes have said they are
considering trying to overturn the agreements, after the company
disclosed that it had known about the issue for years.
To undo a settlement, plaintiffs would have to convince a
judge that they were intentionally misled or defrauded by the
other party, according to legal experts.
The case is Melton et al v. General Motors, State Court of
Cobb County, Georgia, No. 14A1197-4.
(Reporting by Terry Baynes in New York; Editing by Ted Botha
and Andre Grenon)