You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • 3 states issue stronger Ebola quarantine
    NEW YORK – New Jersey, New York and Illinois have issued a mandatory quarantine for travelers who have had contact with Ebola-infected patients in West Africa.
  • Cafeteria worker tried to stop school shooter
    MARYSVILLE, Wash. – A Washington state high school cafeteria worker tried to stop a gunman who opened fire at the school north of Seattle, killing one girl and badly wounding four others, authorities said Saturday.
  • Colleagues: US doctor with Ebola was very careful
    CONAKRY, Guinea – An American doctor who caught Ebola while treating patients in Guinea was a hard worker who conscientiously followed safety procedures, two colleagues said Saturday.
Advertisement

GM's legal staff targeted at recall hearing

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers on Thursday demanded General Motors fire its chief lawyer and open its compensation plan to more potential victims as a Senate subcommittee delved deeper into deadly recalls.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who chairs the subcommittee, praised GM CEO Mary Barra, saying she “has stepped up and with courage and conviction has confronted the problem head on and the corporate culture that caused it.”

But McCaskill said GM’s corporate counsel, Michael Milliken, should be fired based on the conclusions of an internal report by outside attorney Anton Valukas. The report found that GM’s legal staff acted too slowly to share details of settlements it was making and didn’t tell engineers or top executives about mounting problems with ignition switches.

“How in the world, in the aftermath of this report, did Michael Milliken keep his job?” McCaskill asked.

Milliken was seated next to Barra as McCaskill spoke. Barra defended him as a man of “tremendously high integrity.”

In his prepared testimony, Milliken said he only learned about the ignition switch problems in February and acted quickly once he did.

“We had lawyers at GM who didn’t do their jobs, didn’t do what was expected of them. Those lawyers are no longer with the company,” Milliken said.

GM recalled 2.6 million small cars beginning in February because their ignition switches can fall out of the “run” position, causing the engines to stall and shutting off the air bags, power steering and other critical functions.

GM has acknowledged it knew about the faulty switches for more than a decade before recalling the cars. The recall has led to an unprecedented safety review within the company, which has since issued 54 separate recalls for 29 million vehicles.

Compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg is administering a plan for victims’ families, and will begin taking claims Aug. 1. Feinberg was the first to testify Thursday.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked Feinberg whether the compensation plan should be expanded to cover victims of other recalls, specifically a June 30 recall of 8.2 million older large cars with ignition-key defects.

But Feinberg said it’s not up to him which vehicles to include.

Blumenthal added he believes an ongoing Justice Department investigation will find evidence of “cover-up, concealment, deceit and even fraud” among GM’s legal team.

Advertisement