With the American Outrage Cycle having moved on to Volkswagen’s diesel cheating, it would appear everyone has forgotten that General Motors’ cars killed nearly 130 people. But Reuters reports the automaker could still face punitive damages over the ignition switch, maybe:
The decision from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber in Manhattan could increase GM’s financial exposure to claims for injuries, deaths or loss of vehicle value stemming from the 2014 recall.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to make up for plaintiffs’ losses, punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for egregious or negligent conduct, and to deter future misbehavior.
However, while his ruling leaves punitive damages available in some cases, Gerber said plaintiffs could not argue that post-bankruptcy “New GM” was liable for what pre-bankruptcy “Old GM” “knew or did.”