Now that there is a real possibility that GM will be sued for damages related to defective cars, GM is seeking a declaratory judgment from a bankruptcy court in New York that it is shielded from products liability suits concerning defects and crashes prior to July 2009, when GM exited bankruptcy. The New York Times has more on the story.
This is not surprising. Back in 2009, I reported on the developing story regarding the company's bankruptcy and the debate over whether GM should be protected from litigation for injuries suffered prior to the bankruptcy proceeding. Go here, scroll down for the posts and links to the story. Note the posts are in reverse chronological order - the older ones are at the bottom).
Originally, GM wanted to be protected from all possible litigation, but after much debate, it agreed to assume responsibility for all future liability claims filed after the automaker emerges from bankruptcy. However, it continued to claim it should be protected from claims for injuries that happened before 2009. That's the protection it is now claiming.
Interestingly, back in 2009 during the debate on this issue, Chrysler initially wanted the same kind of protection but eventually it reversed course and agreed to accept product liability claims on vehicles built before the company exited bankruptcy. GM evidently did not do this.
Professor Jonathan Turley has a comment on the issue here.