United States District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan has ordered General Motors to furnish customers any portions of 2009 performance evaluation of its former chief executive relating to recalls and ignition-switch issues. GM’s hired investigator, Anton Valukas, has said that former GM CEO Rick Wagoner may have watched a presentation showing stalling by the Chevrolet Cobalt just three weeks before he was axed by the government in March 2009.
Valukas’ finding was the first sign that a top honcho at the carmaker was aware of defects in the Cobalt’s ignition switch. GM was ordered to furnish the review document after it has done a “reasonable” search.
Customers involved in $10-billion car-price lawsuit against GM as well as by a family suing the carmaker in Georgia were demanding for personnel files for 32 current and former GM employees – in a bid to bolster their case that GM hid a known defect for at least a decade.
GM will also turn over four years of performance ratings tied to pay for 26 people. These people include Ray DeGiorgio, the engineer in charge of the faulty ignition switch, and Mike Robinson, vice president of global regulatory affairs.
The court also ordered GM to find separation agreements and disciplinary letters that might shed light over its handling of the switch issue. GM said in a statement that it will comply with the decision and provide the appropriate documents.
Current CEO Mary Barra has said she wasn’t aware of the probes into Cobalts until December 2013. She remarked that she only learned about the stalling and switch recall in January 2014. Valukas backed her statements.