Dearborn man files class-action lawsuit against GM over dangerous defect

DEARBORN (WXYZ) - A Dearborn man today filed a class-action lawsuit against General Motors over the company's defective ignition switches that led to a massive recall.

Attorney Kassem Dakhlallah filed the suit in federal court on behalf of 60-year-old Adnan Jawad, who says he hasn't driven his 2007 Chevy Cobalt since the recall. The complaint says damages are greater than $5 million.

"I’m confused as to what I need to do, but I know I probably shouldn’t be driving this thing because it could probably kill me if I do," Dakhlallah says his client told him.

Jawad reached out to his lawyer after learning that 12 deaths and 31 crashes had been linked to GM vehicles like his.  Last month, the auto giant recalled more than 1.6 million vehicles saying they have defective ignition switch that can cause the engine to shut down. 

Dakhlallah says that even though his client wasn’t physically harmed by the vehicle, he’s sustained plenty of economic damage.  For one, he’s too afraid to get behind the wheel of his Cobalt so he’s had to arrange other transportation.

"Most people, if it’s possible for them, are going to drive their vehicle as seldom as possible because you don’t want to be in a death trap," Dakhlallah said.

In light of all of the media attention and GM’s own admissions that vehicles like Jawad’s can be dangerous, Jawad's attorney says the value has plummeted.

"Anybody who owns a vehicle is not going to be able to get any resale value, so that item literally is rendered worthless in the marketplace," Dakhlallah said.

Today’s class-action lawsuit is the third filed against GM since the recall and the first in Michigan. Dakhlallah says no matter what fix GM comes up with, he and his client won’t trust that it’s truly safe.

"They actively hid defects for a decade," he said. "How are we to believe that these defects are actually fixed, like the manufacture claims them to be?"

GM has pointed out that it's not liable for any accidents that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, but hasn't said whether it will waive that immunity in this case.

The company had no comment on today's suit, saying it's top priority is repairing the recalled vehicles and determining what caused the defect.

Contact Investigator Ross Jones at rjones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

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