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  1. Business

General Motors settles 2 bellwether ignition switch cases

DETROIT — General Motors has settled two federal court cases related to its defective ignition switches, but its legal troubles stemming from the switches are far from over.

GM settled the cases for an undisclosed amount, plaintiffs' attorney Bob Hilliard said Monday. In both cases, the plaintiffs said they sustained serious injuries when the airbags in their vehicles didn't deploy. GM has acknowledged that ignition switches in older cars could fall out of position without warning and shut off the engine and airbags.

The cases are among several so-called "bellwether" trials that are testing the legal boundaries of hundreds of claims against GM. So far this year, one federal case was dropped before trial, GM won two, and three have been settled.

Three more federal cases are scheduled to be heard next year, and one is scheduled for January 2018, GM spokesman Jim Cain said.

GM knew about problems with the switches for more than a decade before it finally recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide in 2014 to replace the defective switches. The switches are responsible for at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries, according to a victims' fund set up by GM and administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

GM has paid nearly $875 million to settle death and injury claims, including $600 million from Feinberg's fund and $275 million to settle 1,385 separate claims. It also has paid $300 million to settle shareholder lawsuits. But many others are pursuing their claims in court.

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