New York • A federal judge told lawyers Monday he'll encourage settlements in lawsuits brought on behalf of nearly 1,000 plaintiffs against General Motors for defective ignition switches.
U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman told dozens of lawyers at a hearing that he'll be careful not to interfere with the work of a bankruptcy judge who is deciding if the Detroit-based automaker's 2009 bankruptcy protects it from economic damages claims.
Furman said he wanted to be "sensitive about stepping on the toes" of the bankruptcy judge but planned to advance the litigation as much as possible nonetheless.
He made introductory remarks at an initial hearing after he was chosen to preside over more than 100 lawsuits that were consolidated in New York because of their common attributes. He said he planned "to encourage settlement as much as possible" once any potential payouts were better defined after rulings by the bankruptcy court.