General Motors Chief Executive, Mary T. Barra, is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee. In her second appearance, before a Congressional Subcommittee, she is expected to testify regarding General Motors long delayed recall of the defective small vehicles which are now tied to 13 deaths. However, the actual death rate related to the faulty ignition switches of the Cobalt and other related vehicles using the same ignition design is expected to rise dramatically as the investigation into these defect-related deaths continues.
The real question that will not be asked of Ms. Barra is why she appeared before the Detroit Bankruptcy Court a few weeks ago to request that the bankruptcy protection that was granted General Motors with regard to vehicles manufactured before May 2009 remain intact.
By the time that General Motors filed bankruptcy, which was granted, they effectively received protection from any liability that they had for the design and manufacture of the vehicles that they unleashed upon an unsuspecting public which resulted in the deaths or significant serious injuries of primarily first time and teenage drivers. The Cobalt was also merchandized and heavily advertised to appeal to first time young women drivers.
Ms. Barra has repeatedly attempted to publicize her responsibilities as a “mother” and not just a CEO in explaining her concern regarding the delays in the identification and publication of the safety defects of these vehicles.
It clearly appears that she is acting in the best interests of General Motors as its CEO, in petitioning the Bankruptcy Court to continue its blanket immunity protection, which General Motors received when bankruptcy was granted in 2009.
That bankruptcy protection could be stripped away if it can be proven that General Motors knew or should have known of the alleged ignition safety related defects and did not disclose it at the time that they petitioned for bankruptcy. The evidence is quite clear, based upon the investigation conducted by the New York Times and other news agencies, that General Motors’ employees and their attorneys were aware of the existence of these ignition related defects well before General Motors declared bankruptcy.
Hopefully, it is not too late for Ms. Barra to reconsider her position and to request that the Bankruptcy Court withdraw the blanket liability immunity that was bestowed upon General Motorist in order for justice to be done for the families who have suffered the most as a result of the harm caused by these safety defects. If Ms. Barra truly cared about the suffering caused to the families of loved ones who unnecessarily perished in these vehicles, she could request that GM relinquish their bankruptcy protection.