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GM seeks court protection against ignition lawsuits

General Motors Co filed a motion in a U.S. court to enforce an injunction contained in its sale order, which GM says bars plaintiffs from suing the reorganized company for any claims related to its predecessor.

"May New GM be sued in violation of this Court's Sale Order and Injunction for economic damages relating to vehicles and parts sold by Old GM?" the company asked in a filing on Monday in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

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Eryk Fikau | Getty Images

GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2009 as a different legal entity than the so-called old GM. Under those terms, the "new GM" shed liability for incidents predating its exit from bankruptcy, and any lawsuits related to pre-bankruptcy issues must be brought against what remains of old GM.

Since it began to recall vehicles in February, GM has been hit by dozens of lawsuits on behalf of individuals injured or killed in crashes involving recalled cars, as well as customers who said their vehicles lost value as a result of the company's actions.

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The plaintiffs have claimed they bought or leased vehicles that had a defective ignition switch and accused GM of fraudulently concealing its knowledge of the defect, saying that as a result, it was not entitled to protection from liability.

GM asked the court to direct the plaintiffs to cease and desist from further prosecuting against new GM claims that are barred by the sale order and injunction, and also dismiss with prejudice the earlier claims as they violated the sale order.

The plaintiffs also filed a lawsuit on Monday to obtain an order declaring that GM cannot use the sale order to absolve itself of any liability from the plaintiffs' defect claims.

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The defect has been linked to the deaths of at least 13 people and the recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles.

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