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From Products Liability Law Daily, August 12, 2014

Court amends GM’s duty to preserve recalled ignition switch parts

By Kathleen Kennedy-Luczak, J.D.

General Motors (New GM) has been order to preserve the only the recalled ignition switch parts that might be relevant to a named plaintiff’s defect claim and the approximately 400,000 parts that it is currently storing, according to an Agreed Preservation Order entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, August 11, 2014, Furman J.). New GM is not otherwise required to preserve recalled parts over and above the number of parts it is currently storing or in the process of storing.

Background. Pursuant to the safety recall of ignition switch parts from certain GM vehicles (NHTSA Recall Campaign 14v-047000), dealerships sent the recalled parts to New GM for storage. In addition, the parties to the ignition switch litigation were ordered to preserve evidence that might be relevant to the case. As a result, by July 23, 2014, New GM had received, or was in the process of receiving, over 400,000 recalled ignition switch parts. New GM argued that it would be subject to undue burden if it was required to continue to collect and store all the remaining parts affected by the recall.

Significant and representative sample. The parties agreed that the parts which New GM currently is obligated to preserve, and must continue to preserve, represent a statistically significant sample of the recalled parts. Going forward, a named plaintiff in the case must provide the dealership and New GM with advance notice that parts must be maintained for purposes of litigation. New GM will then make arrangements for the storage and preservation of those parts. Otherwise, New GM is not obligated to preserve any other recalled ignition switch parts over and above the number listed by make and model in the agreement. The parties did reserve the right to request a future modification of New GM’s preservation obligations.

The case number is 14-MD-2543 (JMF).

Attorneys: Steve W. Berman (Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP), Mark P. Robinson, Jr. (Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc.), and Elizabeth J. Cabraser (Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP) for plaintiffs. Andrew Baker Bloomer (Kirkland & Ellis LLP) for General Motors LLC, General Motors Co., and General Motors Holding, LLC. Michael T. Navigato (Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, LLP) for Don McCue Chevrolet, Inc. Eamon Paul Joyce (Sidley Austin LLP) for Delphi Automotive PLC

Companies: General Motors LLC; Don McCue Chevrolet, Inc.; General Motors Co.; General Motors Holding, LLC; Delphi Automotive PLC

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