Plaintiff lawyer Bob Hilliard said the lawsuit is about the fall in value of the vehicles rather than any deaths caused by the defect. GM has linked 12 deaths to the issue, although the Center for Auto Safety believes the number is much higher.
Hilliard also believes that GM shouldn't be protected from any problems stemming from before its bankruptcy, with the argument being that the company knew about the defect as it was going through Chapter 11 but didn't reveal it. "If you are aware of potential exposure to litigation and you don't reveal it, that's fraud," he said.
GM has started what it said will be an internal investigation into its decade-long failure to disclose the issue. However, the probe has already attracted criticism for using King & Spalding, the law firm that has defended the company in lawsuits over the fault, potentially causing major conflicts of interest.