Ruling could expose GM to large verdicts in ignition cases

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DETROIT (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that people suing General Motors over faulty ignition switches can seek punitive damages that could cost the company millions of dollars or more.

When General Motors emerged from a 2009 bankruptcy, it became known as "New GM." The new company was shielded from liabilities of the old company that was left behind.

Judge Robert Gerber in New York ruled Monday that employees and knowledge transferred from the "Old GM" to the new company. He ruled that plaintiffs can seek punitive damages if they can show that "New GM" had knowledge of the faulty switches but covered it up.

The ignition switches are responsible for at least 169 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

A message was left Monday with a GM spokesman.