Arizona was seeking an estimated $3 billion from GM, the New York
Times reported. (http://nyti.ms/1udmHMA)
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said civil penalties could be up
to $10,000 per violation. Hundreds of thousands of "unsuspecting"
car owners and lessees had been driving unsafe vehicles, he said in
GM said on Thursday it had "not yet had a chance to read and assess
the complaint." It said it was committed to recalling vehicles
proactively whenever a safety issue is identified.
GM has been hit by a slew of lawsuits this year since it announced
the recall of 2.6 million vehicles because a problem with the
ignition switch could cause it to slip out of position, cutting
power to air bags, steering and brakes.
The recalls have grown to encompass numerous problems affecting
millions of vehicles. About 300,000 of the vehicles recalled this
year were registered in Arizona, the New York Times reported.
The attorney general said the case was the first by a U.S. state
against GM for its alleged role in suppressing knowledge of defects
and not recalling vehicles in a timely manner.
The state cited ignition switches and numerous other car parts,
including airbags, wiring, brake lights and seat belts.
Though many issues relate to cars produced before GM went bankrupt,
Horne said "New GM" was liable because it had concealed known safety
[to top of second column]
"New GM was not born innocent," he said in the filing.
GM has argued it should not face lawsuits based on safety issues on
cars made before its 2009 bankruptcy.
The company is running a compensation program for the faulty
Arizona argued consumers lost money because GM vehicles fell in
value. It also said GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, while head of
product development, was informed in 2011 of a safety defect in the
electronic power steering of several models.
"Despite 4,800 consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty
repairs, GM waited until 2014 to disclose this defect," the filing
The case is State of Arizona vs General Motors LLC, Case No.
CV2014-014090, the Superior Court of the State of Arizona, County of
(Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bangalore and Paul Lienert in
Detroit; Writing by Rodney Joyce and Robin Paxton; Editing by
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.