SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Oct. 19 that General Motors Company (GM) will pay $120 million after allegations it hid safety issues for defective ignition switches in its vehicles. The settlement involves 49 states and the District of Columbia and California will receive $7 million.

According to allegations, certain GM executives learned in 2004 that defective ignition switches were being used in select GM vehicles. These defective switches could cause the ignition switch to move from “run” to “accessory” or “off,” which, in turn, could cause a driver to experience a loss of electrical systems and lead to airbag deployment failures during a crash. It was not until 2014 that GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to the faulty ignition switches.

“What GM did is inexcusable – it took nearly a decade for the company to inform consumers that its ignition switches were defective,” Becerra said. “We are holding GM accountable for this blatant violation of the law, which threatened the lives of millions of Americans. All companies should be put on notice. The California Department of Justice has zero tolerance for those who put profits over people.”

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