Source: The Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2014 | By JEFF BENNETT
General Motors Co. and Delphi Automotive PLC joined legal forces Wednesday and jointly asked the Texas Supreme Court to consolidate all faulty ignition-switch lawsuits pending in that state.
The two companies said consolidating the cases so that one judge hears all pretrial issues will "facilitate the uniform and fair resolution of the ignition switch actions." Both also have asked all litigation to cease until the consolidation request has been heard.
Texas attorney Bob Hilliard called the action nothing more than a legal tactic to delay justice for victims. He said he intends to fight the move, especially as the companies list only three pending cases.
"It is unnecessary, time consuming and it proves GM lawyers continue to call all of the shots," Mr. Hilliard said in an interview on Wednesday.
The move by GM and Delphi comes as pressure intensifies on both companies over their roles in producing and approving switches that have been linked to car accidents that have killed at least 13 people. Plaintiff attorneys, including Mr. Hilliard, contend the death count is much higher.
GM's internal report, conducted by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, is expected to be finished by the end of the month. The report is likely to provide more firepower to attorneys who are suing GM, since it will identify the missteps GM took in delaying an ignition-switch recall for more than a decade.
In the filing, GM and Delphi said that given the number of ignition-switch actions currently on file and the number likely to be filed in the future, "consolidated pretrial proceedings would increase convenience and efficiency."
Attorneys have 30 days to respond to the filing.