Posted on April 10, 2014 · Posted in Brain Injury

Faulty Ignition Switch Accident Kills a 29 Year Old Georgia Woman


Brooke Melton was celebrating her 29th birthday when something went horribly wrong.  Brooke drove a Chevy Colbalt.  GM had issued a service report to GM dealers regarding the defect of the faulty ignition switch stating that the vehicle could shut off while driving.  This service report was issued 5 years before Brooke’s accident.  Ironically, one day before her fatal crash she took her car to be serviced complaining that it automatically shuts off while she is driving.  They blamed it on the fuel injection and cleaned it.


Who should be held responsible?  Should it be the dealers who were notified of the defect? Should it be GM for not notifying the public and the owners of the vehicles in which the faulty ignition switch could be a problem?  I think of all the lives (they have attributed 13 deaths to the faulty ignition switch) that could have been saved and not to mention how many may have been injured because of this defect.  I myself have a  loved one that this happened to.  She was driving down a very busy street during a heavy traffic time and her car suddenly came to a dead stop because the engine shut off.  Fortunately for her, she did not suffer any serious injury and when taking her car to her mechanic they replaced the faulty ignition switch with no further incident.

Back to liability.  Here is the “kicker”: Because GM went bankrupt in 2009 and was reconstructed by the government, they will not be held liable for any vehicles manufactured before 2009.  Quoted in an article on : “

[T]he company that emerged from bankruptcy is technically a completely new corporation, taking only the good parts of GM — its functioning plants, brands and cars with it.

The old GM, called Motors Liquidation, was left with the unproductive plants, weak brands and about 2,500 lawsuits seeking billions in damages.

The suits pertain to everything from wrongful deaths in car accidents to contract disputes and abandoned properties. They have all been either settled, dismissed or decided by a verdict. If the plaintiffs got anything, it was only pennies on the dollar compared to what they would have won without the bankruptcy.

And GM continues to use that legal shield in cases unrelated to the recall.”  To read the entire article click here.  There have been a number of civil suits filed against GM but the determination of liability will not be an easy one because of the bankrupcy.  Until then the families and loved ones will not have any closure to something that seems so simple.  GM is responsible.

Come to find out, the actual cost of replacing the faulty ignition switch is 57 cents.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447