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Parents of Brooke Melton Refiling Lawsuit Against GM

Ken and Beth Melton are trying to reverse a previous agreement with GM to settle and are refiling another lawsuit.

Brooke Melton. Photo Credit: Screenshot from NBC News
Brooke Melton. Photo Credit: Screenshot from NBC News
New disclosures linked to General Motor’s faulty ignition switch recalls have prompted the parents of a Georgia woman whose death was blamed on the defect to again file suit against the car maker.

WSB-TV reports that Brooke Melton had been driving on Highway 92 in Paulding County in March 2010 when, according to the accident report, she lost control of her 2005 Chevy Cobalt because the switch malfunctioned. Melton, a nurse in Paulding County, was hit by another car and the Cobalt ended up in a creek. The fatal crash happened on her 29th birthday.

Although they had originally decided to settle with GM, Ken and Beth Melton of Cobb County are reversing their previous decision and refiling their claim. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the new complaint against GM was made because the company “fraudulently concealed critical evidence and allowed its corporate representatives to commit perjury.”

Attorneys for the Meltons say the admission by GM CEO Mary Barra that one of the engineers in the case may have lied under oath is sufficient cause to refile the claims, the Detroit Free Press reports. The attorneys said they asked GM to “rescind” the settlement for an undisclosed sum, but the automaker refused.

The new disclosures reveal that GM had known about the ignition switch problem as early as 2001, but rejected design changes its engineers had proposed because the fix would be too costly and time-consuming. The Meltons’ lawsuit says that this information contradicts the company’s claim during the initial lawsuit, when representatives for the carmaker stated that employees were not aware of the faulty design.

The AJC reports that on Feb. 13 GM recalled 780,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles made between 2005-2007. Twelve days later, 590,000 Saturn Ion, Chevy HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky vehicles made betwen 2003-07 were also recalled. GM has recalled a total of about 2.6 million vehicles in relation to the defect.

“The Meltons would not have settled their cause if they had known of the perjury and concealment of critical evidence,” said their lawyer Lance Cooper in a prepared statement to AJC. “It is now apparent that GM’s plan was to resolve the Meltons’ claims before disclosing the Cobalt ignition switch design changes.”

GM is denying the new claims the Meltons are filing. According to the newspaper, the automaker “denies the assertion that GM fraudulently concealed relevant and critical facts in connection with the Melton matter.”

The Meltons are awaiting a decision from a judge in Cobb County State Court on whether they can rescind the settlement.

“I’m not just angry now,” Ken Melton said at a press conference at Cooper’s Marietta law firm. Melton expressed that he also feels hurt and deceived that GM would choose to not disclose all of the information.

“This is our daughter’s life we’re talking about,” Melton said.

According to AJC, a new study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety shows that over 300 deaths may be linked to GM’s faulty ignition switch.

Lone Stranger May 14, 2014 at 01:35 PM
They certainly should. The so called GM Execs took home millions of dollars and have blood on their hands for doing so. Im not sure what if anything can awaken the American people to what is going on. Corporate execs produce virtually noting but take home pay packages worth hundreds of times that of workers breaking their backs. I am no communist but somehow this seems criminal. GM is yet another example of the taint of government and the ivy league clique destroying us and our country while lining their pockets. Its a sure slide toward oligarchy.
Ruth C. Smith June 08, 2014 at 11:43 AM
Just glad they hired the right lawyer. Very expensive to investigate, crash could be explained by other factors (weather), going up against a ruthless multi-billion dollar company with unlimited resources to fight with. It's amazing this case was filed. Glad there are attorneys out there who are willing to prosecute these cases.

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