A Macon nursing home has had six deaths, and more than 90 residents and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Pruitt Health Macon, at 2255 Anthony Road, has 72 residents and 20 staff members who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, and six people have died, according to a report released Monday by the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Read more here: https://www.macon.com/news/local/article242168451.html


Powers Law Group has represented hundreds of patients and their families as well as healthcare workers in nursing home facilities, including this one in Macon. Unfortunately,  poor safety practices and lax standards are common in nursing homes and assisted living centers throughout the State of Georgia. We pray for the 90 residents and healthcare workers who have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus at Pruitt Health Macon, most especially for the loved ones of the six residents who have perished due to their illness. Sadly, this was preventable. We should do more, as a society, for those in our community who cannot care for themselves.

The trial lawyers at Powers Law Group prosecute claims of nursing home abuse and neglect for both residents and the health care workers who are forced to enforce corporate policies that put both parties at great risk for harm. Sadly, there are large corporations, such as Pruitt Health, that are making calculated decisions to value money and profit over health and safety. It is our job to hold them accountable for these decisions.

 

Macon, GA  – Powers Law Group is pleased to announce that founding partner Jeffrey N. Powers, has been named to the Thomson Reuters 2020 list of Georgia Super Lawyers which are made in accordance with the set of standards set forth by Thomson Reuters under the Super Lawyers Selection Methodology.

Super Lawyers - Jeffrey N. Powers“I am honored to have been selected as a Super Lawyer for 2020 in personal injury litigation. The selection process is voted by peers within the legal community. ”
Jeff Powers

Jeffrey N. Powers is the founding partner of Powers Law Group, LLC a leading personal injury law firm in Macon, Georgia.  Mr. Powers devotes his law practice to personal injury and workers compensation law.  His firm represents Georgia residents in matters involving trucking, automobile, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, construction accidents, burn injuries, wrongful death and other catastrophic injuries caused by negligence.

His successes both in the courtroom and at the negotiating table has earned him an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell and a 10.0 “Superb” peer review rating through Avvo.  Mr. Powers is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Association for Justice, the Macon Bar Association, Macon Trial Lawyers Association, and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Powers earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Florida State University and received his law degree from Mercer University School of Law in 1995.  He obtained his license to practice law in 1995, and is qualified to appear before all Georgia trial and appellate courts, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Georgia and U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia.  Finally, Mr. Powers is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.

About the Firm

Powers Law Group, located in Macon, GA, is a dedicated group of personal injury and workers’ compensation trial lawyers who meet with their clients face-to-face, become personally invested and deliver results. They have been providing excellent legal services since 1995, making every client their first priority. By focusing on their client’s cases and fighting hard on their behalf, they have closed cases in the areas of personal injury and workers’ compensation that have resulted in settlements from tens of thousands to multi-million dollars. If you’ve been hurt at the fault of others, the attorneys at Powers Law Group will work your case, and help you get the compensation that you deserve.

 

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Atty. Jeff Powers and RosebudAs an added layer of client service, Powers Law Group offers an on-site support dog. Rosebud, an 11-year-old Bassett Hound, is an experienced therapy dog. She lightens the atmosphere in our office as she makes her daily rounds/scent checks. Rosebud has proven herself valuable during client interviews and depositions by providing her sweet, calming presence to clients who needed comfort. What other law firm has such a dedicated four legged team member?

 

June has been a busy month for Book ‘Em. They delivered 100 books to The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County so that the 50 students taking part in their summer program could select two books to keep. They continued to supply books to the BCSO patrol headquarters downtown for patrol deputies to distribute. The Weekend Lunch Program for the homeless at Christ Episcopal Church also received 40 books to replenish their supply for children who come there for meals on weekends.

Thanks to a grant from The Linda Harriet Lane Fund, administered by The Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Macon Book ‘Em will be able to purchase close to 2,000 books specifically for patrol deputies to distribute while making rounds in Macon-Bibb. Book ‘Em went on a ride-along with BCSO Patrol Deputy Tommy Harris to kick off this effort. Deputy Harris spent two hours of his busy day taking us to search for children on the streets of Macon-Bibb. They visited Memorial Gym on Second Street. The kids participating in their summer program were on a field trip, so they moved on to East Macon. They visited the Family Investment Center and our friend, Rhonda Miller, whose Girl Scout Troop they delivered books to in 2018. While there, they were introduced to Roger Jackson, Executive Director of the Motivating Youth Foundation.

Mr. Jackson was busy preparing lunch for the 50 children/youth attending MOYO’s summer camp. They discussed planning a book distribution day with him later this summer as well. Deputy Harris spent time talking with some of the youth there and answering their questions about everything from doughnuts to tasers. From there, they went in search of unsuspecting children to “book.” As they drove through Davis Homes, they spotted a precious 3-year-old boy walking hand-in-hand with his dad. Deputy Harris pulled the BCSO cruiser alongside the duo. I rolled down the passenger side window and told them that they needed for them to stop so that they could get out and book them. At first, they were a bit taken aback, but as soon as they saw the basket full of new books they pulled out of the car, they were all smiles! I suspect that one little 3-year-old is enjoying his new set of six Marvel Superhero books that he took home with him.

They also picked out a Doc McStuffin’s book for his baby sister. From there, they moved on to the Pleasant Hill Neighborhood. They spotted three young children on their front porch, escaping the heat. They were delighted to be “booked” with several classics including “The Cat in the Hat,” “Go Dog, Go.,” chapter books for the older sister, and board books for their baby brother. Several other children spotted us while they were “booking” and came over to be booked, themselves!

Macon Book ‘Em will continue these surprise ride-along trips to “Book ‘Em” regularly moving forward. A special thank you to Major Kelvin Harris for arranging our ride-along today with the wonderful Deputy Tommy Harris.

The Walmart driver whose truck collided with a van carrying the comedian Tracy Morgan and other performers had not slept for more than 24 hours before the crash, New Jersey prosecutors said on Monday.

Prosecutors in Middlesex County charged the truck driver, Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., on Saturday with one count of death by auto and several counts of assault by auto in connection with the pileup early that day on the northbound New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury Township, about 45 miles from New York City. One comedian, James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, was killed, and Mr. Morgan was critically injured.

In a criminal complaint released on Monday, prosecutors said that at the time of the crash, Mr. Roper had been operating the tractor-trailer “without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours resulting in a motor vehicle accident.” In a statement issued on Monday, a Walmart spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, emphasized that the company believed Mr. Roper “was operating within the federal hours of service regulations,” which limit work shifts to 14 hours, with only 11 of those behind the wheel. She said the company was cooperating with the investigation.

Under New Jersey law, a driver can be convicted of vehicular homicide if it is shown that he had been without sleep for at least 24 hours when the accident occurred.

A preliminary police investigation found that Mr. Roper had failed to perceive slow-moving traffic ahead of him, and, at the last minute, swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision. The complaint did not explain how the New Jersey State Police determined that Mr. Roper had been sleep deprived.

The crash occurred as Mr. Morgan, 45, a former cast member of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” was traveling to New York City from a comedy show in Delaware. Around 1 a.m., a Walmart tractor-trailer collided with the back of the van, a 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, setting off a chain reaction that involved four other vehicles.

Mr. Morgan sustained injuries including a broken leg, a broken nose and several broken ribs. After the crash, he and his assistant, Jeff Millea, 36, were airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. Another comedian, Ardie Fuqua, 43, was also injured.

By Monday, Mr. Morgan was responsive but remained in critical but stable condition. “This recovery will be arduous,” his publicist, Lewis Kay, said in a statement.

Written by: J. DAVID GOODMAN

Continue to Source article from nytimes.com: Driver Charged in Crash Involving Tracy Morgan Had Not Slept in 24 Hours, Prosecutors Say

Insight by Atty. Jeff Powers:

Our interstates are becoming more and more dangerous due to tired and distracted truck drivers and lax regulation by their employers. In 2012 alone, there were 333,000 large truck crashes which killed 3,921 people and injured over 104,000 in the United States. If this many people were killed or injured due to commercial airline accidents, there would be serious consequences for the airlines. Be careful on our roadways – big truck drivers are overworked, tired, and highly distracted.

We are proud to support Book ‘Em’s efforts, in partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, to improve childhood literacy rates in Macon-Bibb County!

Bibb County Sheriff’s Office deputies spent the morning with our partner Book ‘Em, at the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, Inc. Deputies helped hand out books and coloring books to children.

 

Our Bibb County Sheriff's Office deputies spent the morning with our partner Book 'Em, at the Rescue Mission of Middle…

Posted by Bibb County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book ‘Em was thrilled to participate in their 3rd “Santa in the Park,” event which is an annual outreach project of the Bibb Sheriff’s Office. Each year the Sheriff’s Office selects a public park to be the site of a pre-Christmas gift-giving event for children who might not otherwise receive any gifts on Christmas day. Every child who attends this annual event receives a brand-new toy or bicycle. Book ‘Em is also there to give at least one brand-new book to each child. From 2015-2017 Book ‘Em has given close to 1,000 books to children who attend Santa in the Park. This year’s event was held at the Buck Melton Community Center on Anthony Road.

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The Association of Women Law Students at Mercer University School of Law hosted the inaugural Lauren Giddings 5K yesterday during Mercer’s Homecoming weekend. The race took place at the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, GA. Powers Law Group was one of the sponsors of this event

All money raised will go towards the Lauren Giddings Scholarship, benefitting a Mercer Law Association of Women Law Students member to go towards bar exam preparation expenses. Currently, the average amount that our graduates spend on bar prep and living expenses the summer after they graduate is over $8,000, and federal loans do not cover even half of that amount. Lauren Giddings was a 2011 Mercer Law School graduate. She was involved throughout the law school, including her membership in the Association of Women Law Students. She is remembered for her passion for giving back, including her work with The Habeas Project. It is an honor for Mercer Law AWLS to have a 5K and scholarship in her memory.

During Bibb County Public School’s Fall Break, Book ‘Em, along with Deputies S. Smith and T. Nelson, gave away more than 100 brand-new books. Books were given to students participating in The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County’s Annual Fall Festival.

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Book ‘Em joined the Bibb Sheriff’s Office at a local daycare/Pre-K center for their special day recognizing “Community Helpers.”

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The following article is a prime example of why all drivers need to purchase extra uninsured motorist coverage from their auto insurance provider. The driver who caused this accident yesterday was charged with DUI, failure to yield to a stop sign, and driving without insurance. $25K doesn’t go very far if you’re hospitalized.

Macon woman’s car flips, man who hit her is charged with DUI

 

 

Every Brookdale Elementary student took home five brand new books Thursday. The giveaway was hosted by nonprofit Book ‘Em in partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department.

Read more:

Brookdale Elementary Students and New Books

Lawyers of Distinction Macon GAMacon, GA — 12/09/2016 — The Lawyers of Distinction is pleased to announce that Jeff Powers of Macon, Georgia, has been certified as a member. The Lawyers of Distinction is recognized as the fastest growing community of distinguished lawyers in the United States.   Membership is limited to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States. Members are accepted based upon objective evaluation of an attorney’s qualifications, license, reputation, experience, and disciplinary history. Please see our website www.lawyersofdistinction.com for further details concerning membership qualification.

Attorney Jeffrey Powers is a personal injury attorney and workers compensation lawyer practicing in Macon, GA that serves and protects people’s rights.

Atty. Jeff PowersAtty. Jeff Powers has been practicing law for over 20 years in Macon, GA. Jeff holds a B.S. degree in Psychology from Florida State University(1989) and a J.D. from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University (1995). Upon graduation from Mercer Law, Jeff began work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Macon Judicial Circuit, where he worked from 1995 until 1998.

In 1998, Jeff and his wife, Katie, moved to his hometown, Orlando, FL in order to work with his father, who has a successful law practice. Jeff gained much experience from this and decided that rather than relying on his father’s connections to build a practice, that he would return to Macon and build his own successful practice.

Lawyers of Distinction shall not offer membership to more than 10% of attorneys in any given state. Lawyers of Distinction uses it own independent criteria, including both objective and subjective factors in determining if an attorney can be recognized as being within the top 10% of attorneys in the United States in their respective field. This designation is based upon the proprietary analysis of the Lawyers of Distinction organization alone, and is not intended to be endorsed by any of the 50 United States Bar Associations or The District of Columbia Bar Association.

 

fosyth-county-courthousePowers Law Group represented a personal injury client in a jury trial this month in Forsyth County. The insurance company denied responsibility for our client’s injuries.  The jury was very conservative. Forsyth County residents are known for being some of the most conservative in the state of Georgia. The law requires that the case be filed the where the defendant lives, not where the accident ocurred. We faced many other challenges during the course of the trial such as these:

  • Lack of visible property damage to both cars
  • No complaint of injury at the scene from anyone in either vehicle in accident
  • The police officer recorded that there was no damage to our client’s vehicle
  • Our client delayed seeking any medical care for her injury

powers-law-group-forsyth-countyOur client continued to work as a hairdresser, not losing time from work. The defense hired a non-practicing neurosurgeon as an expert to testify on their behalf. This expert for the defense testified that the need for our client’s neck surgery was caused by looking up while decorating her Christmas tree seven months after the wreck.  Our client’s surgery was 14 months post accident. She returned to work within 6 weeks. The offer to settle before trial was $25,000, and the verdict in favor of our client was for $40,000. While we were pleased with the win for our client, we were also disappointed by the amount the jury awarded to our client, whose medical bills were significantly more than the jury’s award.

Powers Law Group is very proud to be a silver sponsor for The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County’s annual fundraiser, Bowl-a-Thon. This year’s Bowl-a-Thon will take place on Saturday, September 17th at 1:00 pm at the Gold Cup Bowling Center, located at 3720 Pio Nono Avenue, here in Macon. The Mentor’s Project is still in great need of sponsors for this event. Sponsorship levels are as follows:

  • Platinum $8,000
  • Gold $5,000
  • Silver $2,500
  • Bronze $1,500   
  • Banner $1,000
  • Trophy $500
  • Team $400
  • Bowler $100

*Sponsorships of $1,500 and more will have their logo printed on the Bowl-a-Thon t-shirts, banner, and a personal sign.

*Sponsorships of $1,000 and more will have a personal banner 3’ x 11’ and a personal sign

*Sponsorships of $400 and more will receive a sign sized 3’ x 5’
The money raised by Bowl-a-Thon helps to pay for a variety of services that are provided to the more than 300 children served by the Mentor’s Project of Bibb County. This comprehensive mentoring program, in additon to providing quality one on one mentoring to Bibb County Public School students in grades 7-12, also provides wrap-around services. These services include, but are not limited to: teen pregnancy prevention, food pantry, school supplies, school clothing/shoes, providing medical and dental care, rental assistance, healthy lifestyle education, anger management, financial literacy, drug awareness, etiquette classes, college scholarships, HIV/AIDS education/prevention, and a leadership academy. We know of no other organization in our community that has done as much as the Mentor’s Project has for OUR children in Macon-Bibb County. Last year, the Mentor’s Project had a 100% graduation rate. Please consider supporting the phenomenal work that they do by becoming a sponsor of their annual Bowl-a-Thon. Please contact June O’Neal at 478-765-8624 about becoming a sponsor today!

Today in Savannah, Georgia, Atty. Jeff Powers was able to achieve a settlement for a client in a worker’s compensation case. The client had been a faithful employee of the company she worked for in excess of 14 years. Our client wanted to return to work, however, the employer wouldn’t allow her to continue working. We love fighting for our clients.

Atty. Adam BeecherPowers Law Group is proud to announce that Attorney Adam Beecher has been selected to the 2016 Georgia Rising Star list by Super Lawyers Magazine. This is a distinguished honor as no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in Georgia are selected by this publication to receive this designation, which is awarded on an annual basis.  Super Lawyers creates “a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.

Super Lawyers GeorgiaSuper Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.” To be eligible for inclusion on the Rising Star list, a candidate must be under 40 years of age and practicing law less than 10 years. We congratulate Adam on this award!

Macon Car Accident Lawyer - Personal InjuryToday Powers Law Group achieved justice for a client who was injured in a car accident. Jeff Powers was victorious in a bench trial, receiving a judgment of more than twice what the insurance company had offered to pay. We never settle for less than what our clients truly deserve. The insurance company tried to limit the amount of money they had to pay to resolve this case. Powers Law Group represents all of their personal injury and workers compensation clients in this same fashion. Insurance companies know that we never settle for less than what our clients truly deserve.

Deborah L. Pierce, an emergency room doctor in Philadelphia, was optimistic when she brought a sex discrimination claim against the medical group that had dismissed her. Respected by colleagues, she said she had a stack of glowing evaluations and evidence that the practice had a pattern of denying women partnerships.

She began to worry, though, once she was blocked from court and forced into private arbitration.

Presiding over the case was not a judge but a corporate lawyer, Vasilios J. Kalogredis, who also handled arbitrations. When Ms. Pierce showed up one day for a hearing, she said she noticed Mr. Kalogredis having a friendly coffee with the head of the medical group she was suing.

In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System’

Insight by Atty. Jeff Powers:

Be very careful the next time you sign paperwork when entering the hospital, being seen by a doctor or when placing a loved one in a nursing home. Many of these legal documents people sign daily contain a clause which will deny your right to a trial by jury should something go terribly wrong. Corporations are using binding arbitration to deny justice to victims of gross negligence. This means that an arbitrator – one person, who is usually on the side of the corporation will decide if you are entitled to any compensation for your loss. The right to a trial by jury in this country is being taken away by big business.

 

GM to Pay $900M Over Ignition Switch Scandal; Cooper Criticizes Deal

General Motors has agreed to pay $900 million to resolve criminal charges for concealing a defective ignition switch linked to at least 169 deaths, federal prosecutors said Thursday in New York.

The agreement calls for two charges—wire fraud and scheming to conceal information from government regulators—to be dropped after three years if the automaker cooperates fully.

However, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara did not rule out the possibility employees could still face charges.

See Related Article: GM Pact Doesn’t Mean Its Legal Woes Are in the Rear-View Mirror

“They let the public down. It’s as simple as that,” Bharara said. “To sum it up, they didn’t tell the truth in the best way that they should have—to the regulators, to the public—about this serious safety issue that risked life and limb.”

Also Thursday, GM announced it that it will spend $575 million to settle the bulk of the civil lawsuits filed over the scandal.

The twin agreements bring to more than $5.3 billion the amount GM has spent on a problem prosecutors say could have been dealt with at a cost of less than a dollar per car. Those expenses include government fines, compensation for victims and the recall and repair of the millions of affected vehicles.

The statement of facts to which the company agreed describes in scathing terms GM’s deceitful and dismissive approach to handling a problem that was evident even before the defective switch went into production in 2002.

The design of the ignition switch was changed by a GM engineer, without any notice, in 2002, even though the supplier said the switch didn’t meet GM’s specifications. That fact was uncovered in April 2013 during an investigation by Marietta attorney Lance Cooper, who was representing Ken and Beth Melton’s lawsuit in the 2010 death of their daughter, Brooke, a nurse. She died on her 29th birthday after her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt went out of control and rolled off a highway, down a bank and into a creek.

On Thursday, Cooper issued a scathing response to the end of the GM criminal case.

“Today’s settlement announcement provides no consolation to the hundreds of families who were devastated by GM’s decade long coverup of the ignition switch defect,” Cooper said in a news release. “When individuals, through their reckless conduct, cause someone to die, they go to jail. When large corporations, such as GM, through their reckless conduct cause hundreds of people to die, they simply pay a fine, write it off as a tax loss, and move on.”

“Speaking on behalf of the families we represent, we had hoped that justice would be served in the criminal investigation of GM,” Cooper said. “Unfortunately, it’s the same old story—if you have enough power and money you can always buy your way out of truly being held accountable for your misdeeds.”

Cooper’s investigation discovered Brooke Melton’s car’s key was turned off, then later that the ignition switch was defective. The Meltons settled their case in 2013, then tried to give back the $5 million payment a year later when they discovered a GM engineer lied in a deposition saying he did not know about the defect. They refiled their lawsuit in 2014, adding allegations of fraud.

Cooper teamed up with Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery to deepen the investigation. But the Meltons settled again in March 2015 after more money was added to their deal from the fund controlled by GM’s mediator, Kenneth Feinberg.

Before the Meltons settled their suit, Cooper had expected their lawsuit to be the first ignition defect case to go to trial against GM. He said Wednesday he has now placed that hope on other cases he is investigating.

“We look forward to our first ignition switch trial against GM when a jury will have the opportunity to hold GM fully accountable for its reprehensible conduct,” Cooper said. He did not identify the case, and said he would make no further comments for the moment.

Beasley Allen founder Jere Beasley issued a statement saying GM was “getting off easy” on the criminal charges despite being fined nearly $1 billion. “In this country, we normally put criminals in jail, but corporations pay huge fines and keep on doing business,” he said. “I am afraid the public doesn’t fully realize that GM—a corporate entity—is guilty of a criminal offense, and because of the conduct of GM officers and employees, at least 124 innocent victims were killed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dropped the ball and GM intentionally covered up for a full decade a known safety defect.”

Consumer advocate Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Automotive Safety, also bitterly criticized the settlement.

“GM killed over 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over 1 million vehicles,” Ditlow said. “Today, thanks to its lobbyists, GM officials walk off scot-free while its customers are 6 feet under.”

Bharara said he understands some victims’ families might be disappointed no individuals were arrested, but he added: “We apply the laws as we find them, not the way we wish they might be.” He also said GM was given credit for cooperating with the investigation, including sharing the results of its in-house probe.

With the settlements, GM is taking a big step toward moving past the scandal, which badly damaged its reputation but led to companywide safety reforms.

Later Thursday, GM chief executive Mary Barra appeared before employees in suburban Detroit and again apologized to the victims of crashes caused by the bad switch.

“We didn’t do our job,” she said. “We accept the penalties handed down today, because that’s what it means to be held accountable.”

As part of GM’s deal with prosecutors, an independent monitor will be appointed to review the automaker’s procedures for handling safety defects.

When GM employees, the media and some customers complained about the switch in 2004 and 2005, the company’s engineers left the switch alone, rejecting a cheap and simple improvement that would have significantly reduced the problem, court papers said.

Court papers said even though the dangers became plain in the spring of 2012, the company did not correct its earlier assurance that the switch posed no safety concern. Instead, Bharara wrote, it concealed the defect from regulators and the public “so that the company could buy time to package, present, explain and manage the issue.”

The wire fraud count pertained to the company’s assurances to customers over the Internet in 2012-13 that its used cars were safe.

Last year, GM recalled 2.6 million older small cars worldwide to replace the faulty switches. Those included the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion.

The faulty switches can unexpectedly slip out of the “run” position to “off” or accessory. That shuts off the engine and disables power-assisted steering, power brakes and the air bags. Some cars ran off the road or collided with other vehicles.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration slapped GM with a civil fine of $35 million for failing to notify the government of a safety-related defect within five days of learning about it.

Also last year, GM established a fund to compensate victims. Lawyers administering the fund accepted 124 death claims and 275 injury claims. Families of those who died will get at least $1 million. GM has set aside $625 million to compensate people who accept a settlement with the fund.

Texas attorney Bob Hilliard represented 1,385 plaintiffs with death or injury claims who decided not to seek compensation from the fund. On Thursday, GM said it has agreed to spend part of $575 million to settle those lawsuits, which include 45 deaths.

The money also will be used to settle a shareholder lawsuit that said GM’s actions reduced the value of its stock.

Even with the settlements, GM cannot yet close the books on the scandal. It still faces 454 death and injury cases that have yet to be settled. Six cases have been scheduled for trial, including one set to start in January.

Amid the scandal more than a year ago, GM fired 15 employees, including engineers and lawyers, for failing to act to resolve the switch problem.

The recalls led to other changes at GM. Barra appointed a new safety chief who reports directly to her and added 35 product safety investigators. The company changed its product development process to focus more on safety. And it started a program that encourages employees to speak up if they uncover a safety concern.

GM also reviewed a backlog of safety issues in 2014 and ordered a record 84 recalls covering more than 30 million vehicles, including 27 million in the U.S. So far this year, it has issued 33 recalls covering 2.6 million cars and trucks.

The deal with GM comes a year and a half after Toyota agreed to a $1.2 billion penalty from the Justice Department for withholding information about deadly unintended acceleration in its vehicles.

Read more: http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202737483345/GM-to-Pay-900M-Over-Ignition-Switch-Scandal-Cooper-Criticizes-Deal#ixzz3m6n9e2nj