GM’s hit and run: How a lawyer, mechanic, and engineer blew open the worst auto scandal in history

In March 2010, Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old nurse living in Georgia, had been driving when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt’s engine shut down in traffic. Before taking the Cobalt in for servicing, she started a list of all of the issues:

Brooke Melton's List, Courtesy the Cooper Firm

Mechanics cleaned the Chevy’s fuel injection system and returned the car to her promising that nothing was wrong with the vehicle.

Having that assurance, on March 10, 2010, her birthday, Brooke was driving to meet her boyfriend for a birthday celebration. She never arrived. Her Cobalt lost power, she veered into oncoming traffic, tried to correct for the skid, but had no anit-lock breaks or power steering. She was hit on the passenger side of her car, and the force of the impact – identical to falling from a building’s 16th floor – sent her car down a hill adjacent to the road and into a creek.

Brooke Melton's 2005 Chevy Cobalt

Represented by Larry Cooper, Brooke’s parents sued GM, and Ray DeGiorgio’s April 2013 deposition was related to that lawsuit.

In September 2013, GM settled the suit, but they didn’t issue a recall until five months later.

GM’s hit and run: How a lawyer, mechanic, and engineer blew open the worst auto scandal in history | PandoDaily.


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My husband likes to tease me by telling me I must be an alien. When I worked as a faculty member in a Business school, colleagues from other disciplines liked to say, “She’s not one of them.” I choose to take these comments as compliments and attribute them to the contradictory characteristics that define me. Highly analytical and results-oriented, I also approach interactions and challenges with empathy, curiosity, and wonder. I see myriad possibilities and delight at considering how to implement them. Since they are based on a solid theoretical foundation, most of them are reasonable and effective. In brainstorming conversations, others often respond to me by saying, “I didn’t think of that.” At the same time, I enjoy learning from everyone I meet, and I want everyone leaving a conversation with me to feel like they have been heard with compassion. My hobbies include knitting, making jewelry, reading, and hanging out with my husband and dogs. I am a long-time vegan committed to social justice and animal rights.

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