GM, Delphi Win Delay of Four Texas Customer Injury Suits

General Motors Co. and Delphi Automotive Systems LLC won a delay of four lawsuits by Texas customers over accidents in recalled cars as a panel of judges granted the companies’ emergency requests.

The companies sought to postpone court proceedings until the panel decides whether to combine similar suits into one, saying they anticipate more injury claims being brought and a single judge could handle them more efficiently. They twice requested rulings from both a trial court and a so-called multidistrict legislation panel in Texas, saying only two of four customer groups had agreed to wait.

“There will remain multiple lawsuits, in multiple courts of the state, involving similar parties and issues” if the cases aren’t combined, GM said this week.

GM, based in Detroit, has recalled 2.59 million cars over faulty ignition switches. The company has said heavy key rings or jarring can cause the ignition switch in some cars to slip out of the “on” position, cutting off power and deactivating air bags. GM has linked the fault to at least 13 deaths..

Deciding unanimously, the panel yesterday stopped the ignition-switch related suits by accident victims who opposed waiting, according to a filing in Texas Supreme court.

GM has also said it’s separately facing at least 79 lawsuits by customers demanding as much as $10 billion for the lost value of their cars resulting from the defective ignition switches.

The case is In Re General Motors Ignition Switch Litigation, 14-0399, Texas Supreme Court, Before the Multi-District Litigation Panel of Texas (Austin).

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