Corporations will place profits over safety. This is a repeating truth in our world history. When corporations knowingly risk human lives in order to avoid financial loss, this, to me, is one of the most severe types of injustice. In the automotive history, we saw it with the Ford Pinto, and now we see it with General Motors. In both cases (and in many others), personal injury lawyers have uncovered and unraveled such conduct. Brooke Melton was a 29 year old nurse who died in the 2010 car crash below.
Today’s Wall Street Journal GM Settles Case That Led to Recall article highlights how lawyers uncovered how the crash occurred – and in doing so – uncovered a massive cover-up by GM of dangerous faulty ignition switches. You see, it turns out that through Brooke’s case, one of her lawyers deposed a GM ignition switch engineer. It was established that Brooke died when her 2005 GM Cobalt’s ignition switch slipped into the accessory position while driving. As described in the article, “Mr. DeGiorgio’s deposition reignited a long-running internal investigation by GM….GM issued a recall of the vehicles in February 2014 and turned over documents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing its own engineers knew of the ignition switch problem dating back to at least 2005.”
Since that time, GM has admitted wrong, and many other deaths and injuries have been linked to a problem that could have been remedied a decade earlier.
“The disclosure set off numerous investigations, fines and multiple trips by new Chief Executive Mary Barra to Washington, D.C., to explain to congressional panels why it took the company so long to determine the flaw and issue the recall….The auto maker also established a victims’ compensation fund to pay those who had an eligible death or injury claim linked to the ignition switch. A total of 64 deaths and 108 injuries have been confirmed by the fund.” Personal injury lawyers such as here, Attorney Lance Cooper and the well known consumer firm, Beasley Allen are heroes for taking on GM, fighting to obtain records, take depositions, and establish the truth. It is a tragedy that GM placed its profits over the value of human life such as Brooke Melton.