GM Executives Face Congress Over Recall Scandal

William E. Johnson
April 1, 2014

Defective Automobile Design
Tuesday, April 1, regulators and GM executives will face a barrage of questions from Congress as to why the automobile company failed to recall more than 1 million cars despite evidence it knew of fatal flaws in their design. On Tuesday, GM CEO Marry Barra and acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) administrator David Friedman will appear before the House committee. On Wednesday, the pair will speak with a Senate panel. 

In a statement, GM said, “We deeply regret the events that led to the recall. We are fully cooperating with N.H.T.S.A. and the Congress and we welcome the opportunity to help both have a full understanding of the facts.” Florida Product Liability
Negligent Approval
The House committee found that in 2007 the federal regulator decided not to open an inquiry even after its own investigators had identified 4 fatal crashes, 29 complaints, and 14 other reports related to ignition issues and problems with disabled air bags in Chevrolet Cobalts and other cars. 
The memo also revealed that GM approved the faulty design of the switch in 2002 even though the company that made the part, Delphi, warned the automaker that the switch did not meet specifications. This followed a warning the year before — when the Saturn Ion was being developed — but GM said that “a design change had solved the problem,” according to the memo.
These new details strongly lead to the conclusion that both GM and the NHTSA ignored or dismissed warnings for more than  a decade regarding the safety and design of GM's vehicles. “The problems persisted over a decade, the red flags were many, and yet those responsible failed to connect the dots,” Fred Upton, a Republican of Michigan and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement.
Product Liability 
Product liability refers to actions for injuries suffered as the result of a defective product. This includes actions against product designers, manufacturers or distributors. Some examples include defective tires and wheels, dangerous baby toys, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and industrial machinery. A look at the law that governs such cases in Florida is outlined below.
Strict product liability refers to fault that is imposed without regard to proof of negligence. To recover under strict product liability, the plaintiff must prove that an unreasonably dangerous condition or defect existed in the product, that the condition existed at the time the product left the manufacturer's control, and that the condition was a proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury. The plaintiff may create an inference that the product was defective by direct or circumstantial evidence, that there was no abnormal use of the product, that there was no reasonable secondary cause of the injury, and that the product failed to perform in the manner reasonably expected.
Florida Product Liability Attorney
When you purchase a new car, truck or motorcycle, you expect it to run safely without breaking down for a considerable amount of time. For the most part, the law agrees with this assumption. Florida state law will hold car manufactures and car component manufactures responsible for defects in new vehicles, such as:
  • Vehicle roll-overs
  • Accelerator malfunction
  • Tire defects
  • Brake failure
  • Vehicle Fires
The West Palm Beach car defect lawyers at the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A. can help with you recover from negligent auto parts manufacturers and dealers. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 561-832-4848. We serve Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and all of South Florida.
William E. Johnson is a preeminent trial lawyer with an established practice in West Palm Beach to serve clients in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death. With offices based at CityPlace in the heart of West Palm Beach, Mr. Johnson serves those whose lives have been affected by personal injury or wrongful death throughout the state of Florida.
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