| NEW YORK, June 9
NEW YORK, June 9 A federal judicial panel on
Monday ruled that lawsuits against General Motors Co over
economic damages allegedly caused by a recent recall for faulty
ignition switches will be heard in Manhattan.
The cases will be sent to U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman
in the Southern District of New York, according to the ruling
from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which
considers requests to consolidate related lawsuits in U.S.
More than 80 lawsuits have been filed by customers who
allege that their cars lost value as a result of the recall,
which began in February. GM had asked that the cases be
consolidated and transferred to New York, the same district
where it filed for and emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
GM is currently asking the federal bankruptcy court in
Manhattan to determine whether claims brought by plaintiffs over
the recall are blocked by the terms of its bankruptcy sale
order, which created "new GM" and largely barred liability
against the new company for the pre-bankruptcy conduct of "old
The order does not affect lawsuits over personal injuries or
deaths allegedly caused by the vehicles.
Plaintiffs' lawyers suing the company had also asked that
the cases be consolidated but disagreed on where. The forums
they suggested were Los Angeles - where litigation against
Toyota Motor Corp over acceleration issues was transferred - as
well as Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco and Texas.
In its order on Monday, the panel said that the Manhattan
district was the most appropriate choice, since it was the same
district as GM's bankruptcy, as well as the bankruptcy of Delphi
Automotive Plc, a GM supplier that made the switch at
issue. Delphi has been named as a defendant in some of the
Several judges in New York, including Furman, "have some
familiarity with the common defendant and its prior bankruptcy
proceedings," the panel wrote.
The panel, which travels around the country, heard oral
arguments on the request in Chicago.
An attorney for some of the plaintiffs, Steve Berman, said
in an email that he was "happy to be (in New York), as we hear
this judge is terrific."
Representatives for GM and Delphi did not immediately
respond to requests by email for comment.
(Editing by Ted Botha and Jonathan Oatis)