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Blumenthal Calls On General Motors To Contact Known Victims Of Faulty Ignition Switch, Extend Compensation Fund Deadline For Families That Just Learned Of Eligibility

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today called on General Motors (GM) to proactively and immediately contact all families of victims of its ignition switch defect and to extend the December 31 deadline for families that are learning late that their loved ones were harmed by the faulty part. Blumenthal’s call comes in the wake of the New York Times reporting that Jean Averill of Washington, CT, was one of the earliest victims of General Motors’ (GM) defective ignition switch. Although GM’s internal reports have included Ms. Averill on the list of victims of the defect at least dating back to release of the Valukas Report in June 2014, the company never informed the Averill family of its assessment. The family only learned this information when told by the Times last week – with the deadline for compensation through the fund administered by Kenneth Feinberg fast approaching.

“General Motors’ culture of cover-up and deception played a key role in the proliferation of and failure to properly address lethal ignition switches. Now we are learning that even at the new GM, the same culture of cover-up kept Jean Averill’s family in the dark about the true cause of her death and their eligibility for the compensation fund administered by Kenneth Feinberg. I have long called on GM to make a concerted effort to contact every possible victim or victim’s family – at the very least, it must contact all victims who are linked to the defect in the company’s own internal records.

“I urge GM and Mr. Feinberg to abandon the artificial, arbitrary December 31 deadline for families to apply for the compensation fund until such time as General Motors proves it has in fact contacted the family of every confirmed victim the company is aware of, as well as made a good faith effort to contact every possible victim.”