General Motors Co. customers suing over faulty ignition switches lost their bid for access to witnesses interviewed by the government in a probe of the automaker, a U.S. judge said.
The customers, who are demanding as much as $10 billion for the lost value of their cars, sought communications between GM and the U.S. They wanted evidence about recalls, the names of witnesses interviewed by the government and the events leading up to the recall, as well as GM’s knowledge and understanding of the defect.
While GM was turning over documents it had given the government, the automaker had refused to turn over subpoenas and other requests made by federal investigators, the customers said. The customers said the information was relevant because the federal probes “involve the same underlying facts that are at issue in this litigation.”
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan on Wednesday denied the customers’ request.
“Plaintiffs do not have a right of access to ongoing government investigations or an entitlement to the work of criminal and regulator investigators,” Furman wrote.
Furman is presiding over cases brought by customers fighting GM over loss of value along with some accident victims. He has scheduled the first trial in a series of six cases to begin Jan. 11.
The case is In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, 14-md-02543, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).