Car Industry

GM wins lawsuit over its massive ignition switch recall

The suit sought damages for the lost resale value of affected vehicles from California, Missouri and Texas.

Owners of vehicles affected by GM's massive ignition switch recall wanted the company to pay for their vehicles' lost value, but a federal judge says no.

Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

General Motors' ignition switch recall was one of the biggest and deadliest to hit the market in decades. The fix for it has been out for a long time now, but the owners of the affected vehicles aren't giving up on getting the General to pay for its mistake.

A large part of that effort has been directed at suing GM for the difference between what customers paid for their recalled vehicles and what the vehicles are worth now. Unfortunately for the consumers, a federal judge in a Manhattan court on Tuesday ruled that the vehicle owners couldn't seek damages from GM for lost value, Reuters reports.

US District Judge Jesse Furman specifically cited the plaintiffs' lack of fair market value information for their vehicles as a reason for tossing out their claims. It would make it nigh-on impossible for a jury to accurately assess the amount of damages for which GM would be liable.

The judge's decision affects owners in three states -- California, Missouri and Texas. He also indefinitely tabled a possible trial that had been set for January 2020 to address owners' claims.

"GM is pleased with the Court's ruling," said a GM representative, in a statement. "The Court granted GM's summary judgment motion rejecting plaintiffs' claims for alleged economic loss, which was Plaintiffs' largest remaining claim. As the Court noted, 'the ruling changes the landscape [of the litigation] in dramatic ways.'"

GM's behavior during the recall process for the millions of affected vehicles was enough to get the Department of Justice to file a criminal case against the company, which has now been dismissed after the terms of a three-year deferred prosecution agreement were met.

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