Charles and Grace Silvas, who own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt, are suing GM
for allegedly concealing the ignition defect for more than a decade,
which they said caused recalled vehicles to lose value.
On Monday, they filed an emergency motion in U.S. District Court in
Corpus Christi, Texas, asking a judge to order GM to issue a notice
warning customers not to drive recalled vehicles until they have
The Silvas' motion said a so-called "park it now" notice is the only
way to ensure that no other drivers are affected by the ignition
switch problem, which has been linked to 12 deaths.
"Any and every driver that is currently operating a recalled vehicle
could fall victim to the defect, rendering the driver simply another
tick on GM's ever-increasing death tally," the motion said.
A GM spokesman, Jim Cain, said in a telephone interview that the
company has notified dealers and customers that the recalled
vehicles are safe to drive, provided they use only the ignition key
and remove any fobs or extra items that might cause the ignition
switch to move from the "run" position.
Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law
who specializes in product liability law, said it seemed unlikely
that the Silvas' motion would succeed.
"I doubt there is enough clarity now about dangers for a judge to
issue that type of order," he said by email.
GM announced the recall last month, despite learning of problems
with the ignition switch in 2001 and issuing related service
bulletins to dealers with suggested remedies in 2005. The company
has apologized for how it handled the recall.
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Since the recall began, the company has been hit with several
lawsuits, including proposed class actions brought by the owners of
recalled vehicles seeking to recover economic losses, including
diminished resale value and compensation for losing use of their
In a related development on Monday, Democratic U.S. Senator Richard
Blumenthal of Connecticut asked the U.S. Justice Department to force
GM to establish a fund to compensate customers affected by the
ignition switch problem.
On Friday, the automaker was sued by an investor who said the recall
erased billions of dollars in value from the company's shares. GM
was also hit with what appeared to be the first wrongful-death
lawsuit since the recall on behalf of three teenage girls who were
severely injured or killed in a 2006 crash.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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