General Motors Co has been hit with what is believed to be the first wrongful death lawsuit over ignition switch problems since it recalled 1.6 million vehicles in February.
The lawsuit was filed late on Friday in Minnesota state court on behalf of three teenage girls who were severely injured or killed in a 2006 crash involving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, one of the models GM recalled over ignition problems
Plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking to draw Continental Automotive Systems U.S., the maker of airbag systems in recalled General Motors vehicles, into litigation over an ignition-switch defect that has been linked to 13 deaths.
A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court in California is the first to name Continental, a subsidiary of German automotive supplier Continental AG , in a growing wave of litigation over GM’s recall, which has so far encompassed 2.6 million vehicles.
Newly released internal GM documents reveal that the company in 2001 considered — and rejected – an ignition switch design that two prominent safety advocates say could have avoided the problem that led the automaker to recall millions of vehicles this year. The company’s decision to reject the safer switch was motivated by cost, the advocates say.