Kyla Asbury Apr. 1, 2014, 3:17pm

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - General Motors has added another 971,000 vehicles to its recall tied to a faulty key switch system.

The recall was expanded on March 28, just four days after a class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that included plaintiffs from nine states who claimed the key switch system was defective.

The plaintiffs claim GM misled consumers about scope of problem.

GM announced that it was widening the scope of its recall by 971,000 vehicles to include 2008-2011 small model GM cars that could potentially contain mechanisms related to its defective system.

Previously, GM had recalled 1.6 million cars for repairs earlier in March.

Mary Barra, the new GM CEO, will go before Congressional and Senate committees on Wednesday and Thursday to explain the reasons for the broadened recall and to explain why GM is believed to have delayed disclosing the problems with its key system for more than 10 years.

The lawsuit was filed on March 24, after consumers who purchased and leased 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, 2005-2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion and 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles claimed the key switch system was defective.

The lawsuit is the first and only one filed against GM to date that seeks to represent all purchasers and lessees of the affected GM cars, including vehicles subject to GM's latest recall, according to a press release issued by the plaintiffs' attorneys.

Upon filing their suit in a San Francisco federal court, lawyers representing the consumers said replacement of the faulty switches was an insufficient fix, as other ignition engineering problems--including the entirety of GM's key system--were also a factor.

The attorneys also demanded that GM widen its recall, especially to cover cars with model years later than those in the initial call-back, which was limited to certain 2003-07 GM vehicles.

Part of the added recall is to cover cars that may have received defective replacement ignition switches in the large after-market.

"We are pleased to see that GM, following our lead and tracking the claims made in our lawsuit, has taken another step toward acknowledging the full extent of the problem with its small-car ignition system," said Adam Levitt, a director with Grant & Eisenhofer and one of the lawyers leading the private consumer action.

Levitt said GM's proposed remedy of merely replacing the ignition switch still fails to address the full nature of the problem in the affected recalls.

Consumers are asking that GM be compelled to undertake a complete overhaul of the key system so that all defective cars can have their value restored.

They are also seeking financial compensation for the reduced value of their cars.

According to GM, nearly 100,000 of the faulty ignition switches were sold to auto dealers and wholesalers, and that approximately 90,000 were used for repairs.

In addition to Grant & Eisenhofer, consumers are represented by attorneys from Baron & Budd and The Cooper Firm, whose principal partner, Lance Cooper, was the first attorney to uncover GM's key system defect and the company's years-long effort to conceal it, according to a Grant & Eisenhofer press release.

Other major firms comprising the litigation team include Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Goza, P.C.; The DiCello Law Firm; Conley Griggs Partin LLP; Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC; Bucci Bailey & Javins L.C.; and Siprut P.C.

Among other noted members of the trial team are Edward D. "Chip" Robertson Jr., former Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court; and Sharon L. Potter, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 3:14-cv-01339

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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