G.M. to Pay $900 Million Over Deadly Ignition Switch
The U.S. government has completed a criminal investigation related to G.M.’s, “failure to disclose an ignition defect that killed at least 124 people.” The value of 124 people? Apparently $900 Million. No one will be going to prison for these deaths. In addition, no one will be charged for a wire fraud or the scheme to actively hide a deadly safety defect. As long as G.M. pays its fine, allows independent monitoring and take responsibility for its conduct. By the way, this is less money than Toyota had to pay last year for concealing brake problems. That amount was $1.2 billion. It would seem that just like in the days of the Ford Pinto, all these companies get is a financial penalty when they conceal problems and kill innocent people. Does that seem fair to you? By the way, G.M.’s profit last year? $2.8 billion. Don’t forget, taxpayers gave GM $50 billion during the bailout.
What was the Problem?
According to the investigation, some G.M. employees knew about the switch problem back in 2012. The problem was that the switch could suddenly turn off. This cut power to the engine, steering and breaks. It also disabled airbags. G.M. didn’t bother to notify the government and public of this issue until 2014. It seems that there were “clues pointing to the defect” as far back as a decade ago. According to Federal prosecutors, “GM engineers, attorneys and mid-level executives failed to fix the defect for more than a decade and ‘willfilly and knowingly did falsify, conceal and cover up’ the facts by making ‘fictitious and fraudulent statements’ about the deadly flaw. This means G.M. was aware of a deadly problem back in 2002. It knew the problem was deadly. And instead of doing anything about it right away, it actively sought to hide the problem. Again, at least 124 people died. This punishment is a slap on the wrist.
GM states that it has put aside $575 million to pay a class action lawsuit for 1,383 death and injury cases related to the ignition switch problem. Another slap on the wrist to pay off the people who were seriously injured or killed due to this terrible and disgraceful situation. So I guess all of these injuries and deaths are worth about $1.474 billion. Is that enough? The families who lost loved ones sure think it isn’t. They want to see someone goes to prison. I can’t say I blame them.
What do you think?