En Español

House to Investigate General Motors Slow Response to Vehicle Defects

By Brian Chase on March 13, 2014 - 1 comment

GM Ignition Switch RecallA House committee has launched an investigation into the response by General Motors and federal safety regulators to complaints about defective ignition switches that have been linked with 13 fatalities.

According to a report in The New York Times, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold hearings that will include the automaker and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A date has not been set for that hearing.

Last month, GM announced a recall of 1.6 million vehicles because of a defective ignition switch, which if weighed down by a heavy key ring, could turn off the engine and electrical system disabling the airbags.

This week, General Motors also announced that its internal investigation would be led by a former federal prosecutor, Anton Valukas, who was the court-appointed examiner in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy case.

Consumer Complaints Going Unheeded?

The Times reports that this is not the first time the committee’s chairman, Fred Upton, has looked into the issue of consumer complaints going unheeded over defective cars.

In 2000, Upton led a subcommittee that investigated rollover crashes involving Ford Explorer rollovers with Firestone tires, which was eventually linked to 271 deaths. As a response to the Ford Firestone fiasco, Congress passed the Tread Act, a law that requires automakers to report auto defects to NHTSA in a timely manner.

Upton has said he wants to know if consumer complaints in the GM ignition switch issue went unheeded or if the company’s regulators missed something that could have raised some red flags earlier?

Extremely Delayed Recall

We already know that GM knew about this problem in 2004 – 10 years ago!

In spite of considering fixes twice, the automaker in the end declined to make those fixes. They’ve received over 260 complaints over the last 11 years about this problem, according to a New York Times analysis.

But, they never started a broader investigation, which begs the question – why not? GM always argued that there just wasn’t “enough evidence” to warrant a broader investigation.

The company has an April 3 deadline to answer 107 detailed questions about how it mishandled the switch problems and what individual employees were responsible for failing to take action on what GM is now admitting was a lethal safety defect.

We certainly hope federal regulators dig deep into GM’s story and find out whether they dropped the ball or deliberately hid valuable safety defect information from consumers.

Posted in: Car Defects

One Response to “House to Investigate General Motors Slow Response to Vehicle Defects”

  1. On
    House to Investigate General Motors Slow Respon... said:

    […] A House committee has launched an investigation into the response by General Motors and federal safety regulators to complaints about defective ignition switches that have been linked with 13 fatalities. According to a report in The New York Times, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold …  […]

Leave a Reply:

Share this:

See All Awards, Ratings and Reviews

The BISNAR | CHASE Difference

  • “I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a personal injury attorney. I wanted my life’s work to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

    Brian Chase

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “Everybody either drives in a car or rides in a car, so when I do the auto defect cases I really feel like I’m making the world safer by making vehicles safer.”

    Brian Chase

    on why he focuses on auto defect cases

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “Corporate greed is a reality in our world and I see it time and time again. Especially, with the auto defect cases we focus on.”

    Brian Chase

    on corporate greed and how it affects the consumer

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “There are many, many defects in vehicles that can lead to life or death that could be fixed with a mere $40-$50 [on the assembly line].”

    Brian Chase

    on the shocking facts about the vehicles we drive

  • “You are dealing with people who are seriously injured or have lost a family member...Compassion is understanding someone else’s situation.”

    John Bisnar

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

  • “I’m convinced, because of all the lawsuits...the auto industry finally found out it was cheaper to fix the problem than to keep paying in the litigation.”

    Brian Chase

    on making the world a safer place

  • “...if [manufacturers] build a dangerous product and someone is seriously injured from that, some personal inury lawyer is going to call them on the carpet about it.”

    John Bisnar

    on how Bisnar | Chase has helped make the world a better place

  • “When you have a client come in that’s in a wheelchair...or you meet a wife who has lost their husband or they’ve lost their child, it’s diffucult not to get emotionally involved.”

    Brian Chase

    on the biggest challenges he faces as a personal injury lawyer

  • “I bring in the best employees that I can and I want them to have a workplace that is condusive to them doing their best work.”

    John Bisnar

    on the work environment created at Bisnar | Chase

  • “My motivation of going to law school to have my life’s work help other people...when I see that come to fruition, I’m very pleased and very happy with that.”

    Brian Chase

    on the accomplishments he is most proud of

  • “...it is part of our civic responsibility and it is our great fortune to be in a position to be able to help support our community...”

    John Bisnar

    on the importance of giving back to the community

  • “I was always jealous of doctors. They get to save lives and they get to heal. I don’t get to do that but I get to have a very big impact on another person’s life...”

    Brian Chase

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “Seeing the growth of my employees, seeing them mature professionally, personally, and grow into the great professionals they have become is tremendous.”

    John Bisnar

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “I’m the president-elect this year and I’ll be the president next year of the Consumer Advocate Attorneys of California and I find that to be a rewarding thing...”

    Brian Chase

    on being an advocate for the people of California

  • “There’s going to people that you meet, that you can mentor...You can make a difference in their lives, you can make a difference in their client’s lives.”

    John Bisnar

    on mentoring young attorneys

  • “We try to figure out how we can help [our clients] get through what they’re going through emotionally. Because just getting them compensated is only part of the job.”

    Brian Chase

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

  • “The Lakers have always been a winning organization, a class organization. I’ve used the Lakers as kind of a model for how to run my practice as well.”

    John Bisnar

    on his passions in life

Bisnar | Chase • 1301 Dove St #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660
local: (949) 203-3814
Get Directions

California Personal Injury Blog

Ruling: Nursing Homes Can’t Make Decisions For Mentally Incapable Residents

An Alameda County Judge has ruled that a California law, which allows nursing homes to make medical decisions on behalf of certain mentally incompetent residents, is unconstitutional. According to a

read article

Mitsubishi Recalls Vehicles For Sun Visor & Brake Issues

Mitsubishi is recalling about 535,000 vehicles in two separate recalls, one involving problems with sun visors and another to fix issues with the anti-lock brake system. According to a report in

read article

Feds Investigate Ford Trucks For Power Brake Failure

Federal safety regulators have opened an investigation into 250,000 large Ford trucks after receiving 32 consumer complaints about brake failures. According to a report in Consumerist, the U.S.

read article


Copyright & Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case.

Bisnar Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in other states through our associations with local law firms. Through the local firm, we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice, meaning "for this particular occasion." When in our client's interest, we employ the local law firm (at no additional cost to our client) to assist us with routine court appearances and discovery proceedings to more efficiently pursue our client's cause.

Copyright © 1999- Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys - All rights reserved.