— A General Motors airbag class action lawsuit will continue for California customers after the judge refused to grant GM's motion to dismiss.
Plaintiffs James Milstead, Arthur Ray and Richard Vargas contend 1999-2018 GM trucks and SUVs in California are equipped with defective airbag systems.
The class action lawsuit alleges the airbag control units, also called sensing and diagnosic modules, "prematurely close the time window to engage airbags and seatbelts in a crash, putting occupants of the Class Vehicles at serious risk."
Specifically, the software program that controls the module is calibrated to prevent airbag deployment and seat belt tightening, "long before the 100 millisecond minimum window reasonably required by real-world crashes."
The original GM airbag class action lawsuit began in August 2021 as a nationwide action with three named plaintiffs from California and 69 plaintiffs from other states.
Since then the class action has been dismissed for all affected vehicles except those in California.
In addition, the lawsuit for California has also been dismissed, but the judge has allowed the plaintiffs to change and refile their class action lawsuit three times.
The third amended lawsuit was filed in July 2023, and even though the judge previously dismissed the lawsuit because the plaintiffs failed to allege a "plausible defect," this time the judge allowed the lawsuit to move forward.
In its motion to dismiss, GM argued the lawsuit should again be dismissed because the same arguments as before are set forth in the third amended lawsuit.
But according to the judge, the plaintiffs changed their definition of the airbag defect in the third amended lawsuit which means the lawsuit will move forward.
According to Judge Jon S. Tigar, the third amended version of the GM airbag lawsuit now alleges 100 milliseconds is the soonest shutoff point that could be "reasonably safe."
But the California GM vehicles are allegedly defective because their airbag control units "are programmed with shutoff times less than 100 milliseconds.
And in the third amended lawsuit, the plaintiffs reference a crash in which the airbags in a 2009 GM truck did not deploy during a fatal crash, allegedly due to a programmed shutoff time of less than 100 milliseconds.
The General Motors class action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: James Milstead, et al., v. General Motors LLC, et al.