GM Embroiled in Class Actions, Ordered to Pay $35 Million Fine

General Motors’ 2.59 million-vehicle recall has prompted 79 lawsuits from customers demanding the lost value of their cars, seeking up to $10 billion in alleged economic loss.

According to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing, the automaker has been named in 20 class action lawsuits since April 30, all related to the ignition switch defect.

GM’s liability in pre-2009 bankruptcy claims is uncertain at present, as a panel of judges is scheduled to rule on this later in May. The class actions claim the “Old GM” promoted the vehicles as safe and reliable without revealing any of the known issues. Allegations of successor liability are a common theme in the suits, and GM has asked a federal judge to shield it from responsibility in claims prior to its 2009 bankruptcy. A ruling is expected later this month on the request.

Federal investigators have determined that General Motors withheld information relating to February’s ignition switch recall for too long before revealing their findings. The company is now being fined $35 million for these issues.

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Above: Slides from an internal presentation from the automaker shows management pressured employees to avoid key phrases like “defect” and “recall.”