Attorney General Slatery Announces $120 Million Settlement With General Motors

Multistate Settlement Concludes Investigation Into Defective Ignition Switch

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III Thursday announced a $120 million settlement with General Motors Company over allegations GM concealed safety issues related to ignition switch-related defects in GM vehicles. 

The settlement, reached between GM and the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia, concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects in several models and model years of GM vehicles. 

“It is unacceptable for a company to knowingly hide significant safety concerns from the public,” General Slatery said. “This settlement holds GM accountable for their dishonesty and ensures a change in company behavior that will better protect consumers.” 

In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to ignition switch and/or unintended key rotation related issues, which have affected over nine million vehicles in the United States. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch that, under certain conditions, could move out of the “Run” position to the “Accessory” or “Off” position. If this occurs, the driver experiences a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes.  If a collision occurs while the ignition switch is in the “Accessory” or “Off” position, the vehicle’s safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in certain types of crashes in which the airbag was otherwise designed to deploy. 

As the states alleged, certain employees of GM and General Motors Corporation (which went through bankruptcy in 2009), knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could cause airbag non-deployment. However, despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition switch. 

The states alleged that these actions were unfair and deceptive and that the automaker’s actions violated state consumer protection laws. 

According to the settlement, GM shall: 

Not represent that a motor vehicle is “safe” unless they have complied with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable to the motor vehicle at issue.
Not represent that certified pre-owned vehicles that GM advertises are safe, have been repaired for safety issues, or have been subject to rigorous inspection, unless such vehicles are not subject to any open recalls relating to safety or have been repaired pursuant to such a recall.
Instruct its dealers that all applicable recall repairs must be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. and included in a recall is eligible for certification and, if there is a recall on any certified pre-owned vehicle sold in the U.S., the required repair must be completed before the vehicle is delivered to a customer. 

GM also agreed to pay the participating attorneys general a total of $120 million, of which Tennessee’s share is $2,095,522 

In addition to Tennessee, the multi-state group – led by Ohio, South Carolina, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas - includes  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.



Senator Bell Receives Tennessee District Attorneys' Guardian Of Public Safety Award

The state’s 31 district attorneys have recognized state Sen. Mike Bell with the Guardian of Public Safety Award.   The Guardian of Public Safety Award is given to a legislator who recognizes the necessity of protecting our citizens and takes action to advance public safety.   “Senator Bell is keenly aware of the public safety issues faced by Tennesseans on a daily ... (click for more)

Rep. Carter Receives Tennessee District Attorneys' Public Safety Advocate Award

The state’s 31 district attorneys have recognized state Rep. Mike Carter with the Public Safety Advocate Award. The Public Safety Advocate Award is given to a legislator who "recognizes the necessity of protecting our citizens and takes action to advance public safety." “Representative Carter is keenly aware of the public safety issues faced by Tennesseans on a daily basis. ... (click for more)

Woman, 20, Killed While Trying To Cross Highway 153 Early Sunday Morning

A woman, 20, was killed early Sunday morning while trying to cross Highway 153. The victim was identified as Ansleigh Kaylyn Harrison. At approximately 1:28 a.m. , Chattanooga Police officers responded to a pedestrian struck at 5256 Highway 153. A Toyota Sequoia driven by 31-year-old Asher Powers was traveling north on Highway 153 in the inside lane. The pedestrian ... (click for more)

2 Shot In Separate Incidents Early Saturday Morning; 1 Victim Is A Juvenile Girl

Two people were shot early Saturday morning in separate incidents. The first incident was at  3:30 a.m. when the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a person shot on the 1000 block of North Willow Street.  Upon arrival, officers made contact with the victim who was suffering from a gunshot wound.    HCEMS transported the victim to a local hospital ... (click for more)

John Porter Franklin, Sr.: A Community Gem

In 2016, It was   my honor to have been chosen to recognize African American History Month at the February HCDE board meeting.   Throughout my life, I’ve been taught and exposed to African American history both nationally and locally. In reflecting on what to share, I thought about all that was going on in our community and more importantly in our educational community ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Claude And "Mr. John"

There are some who believe this last week has been a devastating one for our community, losing two of our most beloved “builders” within three days of one another. Claude Ramsey, who spent over 40 years in public service and because of the type man he was never lost a political race, died on Monday after a hard fight with illness at the end. On Thursday we lost “Mr. John” Franklin, ... (click for more)