(Reuters) – A district attorney in California on Monday announced a lawsuit accusing General Motors of threatening public safety by concealing at least 35 safety defects that have prompted the recall of more than 17 million vehicles this year.
The lawsuit, filed on Friday by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, accuses GM of violating consumer protection and unfair competition laws by delaying action to address faulty parts ranging from ignition switches and airbags to power steering.
GM’s apparent cover-up put customers at risk and unfairly disadvantaged competing automakers by misleading the public about the safety of its vehicles, according to the lawsuit. It said that GM knew about the problems but delayed issuing recalls in order to keep costs down.
“We must encourage all businesses to be fair and live up to safety standards, and must not allow those engaging in unfair practices to punish those businesses that don’t cut corners by compromising safety,” Rackauckas said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. It seeks an order stopping GM from engaging in unfair business practices, restitution for California consumers and civil penalties.