LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A proposed class-action lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles alleges that GM knew of ignition switch failures in its vehicles as  early as 2004, but continued to build and sell unsafe cars to the public.

In February, GM issued a recall of 1.4 million vehicles in the United States that used the faulty part. The ignition switch is prone to shutting off unexpectedly, leaving the driver without power to the car, and cutting off power steering, power brakes and airbags.

GM has admitted that the faulty ignition switch has caused a dozen deaths, but other reports put the number at over 300, according to Jonathan Michaels, whose Michaels Law Group brought the complaint in federal court.

Federal prosecutors are now looking into whether GM executives should be criminally prosecuted, and both the Senate and the House are expected to hold hearings in the matter.

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for all owners of the recalled vehicles for the loss of use of their vehicle, repairs and diminished value.  


While GM has preliminary reserved $300 million to pay out on recall claims, Michaels said the ultimate class recovery will be substantially more, noting that the Toyota gas pedal lawsuit was settled for $1.6 billion.