March 25, 2014 / 3:55 PM / 5 years ago

Former Delphi employee sues over GM ignition defect

* GM has recalled 1.6 million vehicles over faulty ignition switch

* Case is among growing number of lawsuits against GM after recall

* Lawsuit says GM concealed knowledge of the defect

By Jessica Dye

NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - 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 Allen.

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 Cobalt. (Editing by Noeleen Walder and Matthew Lewis)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below