General Motors will be heading to court on January 11th to face the first of several planned 'bellwether' cases over its defective ignition switch.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan rejected GM's claims to dismiss the case as the plaintiff provided sufficient evidence to justify letting a jury hear whether or not the switch caused or enhanced injuries in a crash.
The case in question was brought to court by Robert Scheuer who crashed into two trees in Oklahoma on May 28, 2014. The Saturn Ion he was driving did not deploy the front airbags, which he says is a result of a defective ignition switch.
Furman's decision "paves the way for the jury to have an unfettered and full view of GM's behavior in covering up this defect," said Bob Hilliard, lawyer for Scheuer in a statement.
"We are fully prepared to go to trial, and introduce evidence showing that the ignition switch issue did not cause the injuries in this accident, or cause the airbags not to deploy," said GM spokesman James Cain in a phone interview with Reuters.
This case is important as it is the first of six 'bellweather' cases being brought to trial. These cases are sometimes used in product liability litigation where hundreds or thousands of people have a similar case. The results of the six cases will help those decide whether or not to continue with their case or settle.