A Georgia judge denied a motion filed by General Motors to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the automaker over the death of a 29-year-old woman that helped set in motion the recall of 2.59 million cars with faulty ignitions.
"I'm denying the motion to dismiss," said Cobb County State Court Judge Kathryn J. Tanksley at a hearing on Saturday in Marietta, Georgia, setting a trial date for April 2016.
The family of Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old nurse who died in a 2010 car crash near Atlanta, sued GM and settled last year for $5 million. However, the case exposed how GM ignored evidence that several deaths were linked to faulty ignition switches and let millions of unsafe cars stay on the road.
The Meltons filed to reopen the lawsuit in May, alleging GM had fraudulently concealed the known defects in vehicles and withheld evidence before they reached their settlement. However, GM insists the case has been settled and couldn't proceed.
"We continue to believe that the parties reached a good faith settlement last year and that the court's prior order dismissing all claims against GM with prejudice after that settlement prevents plaintiffs from pursuing the same claims a second time," GM said in a statement. "GM will review the court's order once it is entered and will evaluate its options."
The family's original case sparked a recall crisis at GM that has resulted in 54 recalls involving 29 million vehicles this year, along with a $35 million fine from federal regulators.