U.S. Supreme Court Notebook

Justices turn away GM appeal over ignition switches


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday turned away an appeal from General Motors Co. seeking to block dozens of lawsuits over faulty ignition switches that could expose the company to billions of dollars in additional claims.

The justices without comment left in place a lower court ruling that said the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy did not shield it from liability in the cases.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that GM remains responsible for ignition-switch injuries and deaths that occurred pre-bankruptcy because the company knew about the problem for more than a decade but kept it secret from the bankruptcy court.

The company had argued that well-established bankruptcy law allowed the newly reorganized GM to obtain the old company’s assets “free and clear” of liabilities.

GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide in 2014 to replace defective switches that played a role in at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries, according to a victims’ fund set up by GM and administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

The automaker has paid nearly $875 million to settle death and injury claims related to the switches. That includes $600 million from Feinberg’s fund and $275 million to settle 1,385 separate claims. It also has paid $300 million to settle shareholder lawsuits. But many others are pursuing their claims in court.

After it emerged from the government-funded bankruptcy, the company referred to as New GM was indemnified against most claims made against the pre-bankruptcy company, known as Old GM. A bankruptcy court sided with the company in 2015, ruling that most claims against Old GM could not be pursued.

But the appeals court in Manhattan overturned most of that decision and said hundreds of pre-bankruptcy claims could go forward.

 

High court won’t hear appeal over CIA torture report
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal seeking to force the CIA to release the full 2014 Senate report about the agency’s use of harsh interrogation tactics.

The justices on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said the 6,900-page report prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee was not subject to Freedom of Information laws.

The committee previously released a lengthy summary of the report to the public, but the American Civil Liberties Union sued to obtain the full version. The ACLU argued that the report became subject to disclosure laws after the committee sent it around to several federal agencies for review.

The appeals court said Congress clearly intended to retain control of the report.

 

Justices won’t hear challenge to Alabama campaign law


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear a challenge to Alabama’s ban on the transfer of campaign contributions between political action committees.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that said the 2010 law does not unconstitutionally restrict political speech.

The law was challenged by the Alabama Democratic Conference, one of the state’s oldest predominantly African-American political organizations.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the ban is a legitimate means to prevent corruption.

The Alabama Legislature passed the ban to restrict donors’ ability to hide contributions by shuffling them through multiple political action committees.

 

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »