A lawyer who represents the families of 16 people who were injured or killed due to faulty ignition switches on several General Motors vehicles is urging GM CEO Mary Barra to meet with the families when she testifies before Congress this coming week.
"GM's humanity, if it is to survive, requires this meeting," Texas attorney Robert C. Hilliard wrote in what he describes as an 'open letter' to Barra.
"These grieving families have honored me with their trust," Hilliard told Reuters. "while in Washington with them, I will do everything in my power to bring some closure to the nightmare they are living."
GM has recalled nearly 2.6 million vehicles worldwide due to faulty ignition switches which have been blamed for at least a dozen deaths. Hilliard and other attorneys have said they feel the switches are to blame for as many as 300 deaths, and say GM knew about the problems with the switches as early as 2001. GM has said it is 'cooperating with Congress and other authorities.'
Hilliard, in a letter in which he refers to Barra as 'Mary,' urges the newly appointed CEO to 'honor the grief' of his clients by 'learning about their children lost, hear their favorite stores, understand through their eyes how unique these young kids were, and feel how much they were loved and how much they were missed and mourned.'
"The massiveness and depth of GM's betrayal can only be understood through the consequence of the true human cost to its customers," Hilliard wrote. "These are the parents and siblings of your company's victims, they are the survivors of GM's fraud."
Hilliard calls GM's actions 'a massive and years long deceitful cover-up involving millions of vehicles, hundreds of lives, and a level of callousness and arrogance unprecedented in our country's history.'
Hilliard’s lawsuit, which was filed in Federal Court in Corpus Christi earlier this month, is one of several actions which have been taken against General Motors over the recall.
In a video released this past week, Barra says the cars involved in the recall are safe to drive.
"If you only have the key and key on, the vehicle is safe to drive," Barra said in the video.