A Georgia lawyer with clients who have cases against General Motors in the multi-district ignition switch litigation asked a federal judge to remove co-lead plaintiffs counsel for allegedly putting their own interests ahead of the plaintiffs’.
Lance Cooper of Marietta, Georgia, claims that Robert Hilliard of Hilliard Munoz & Gonzalez in Corpus Christi and other attorneys chose a weak case as the first of six bellwether trials to test GM’s liability for allegedly defective switches that cause cars to lose power and cause accidents.
Cooper wrote to Southern District Judge Jesse Furman Monday, saying Hilliard selected the case of Robert Scheuer to go first merely to maintain control of the litigation, which he said marked “the culmination of a long series of poor decisions and mismanagement.”
He asked for the removal of Hilliard and co-lead counsels Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein.
Berman said Tuesday the motion was “unwarranted,” that Cooper resigned from the litigation’s executive committee nine months ago and Cooper did not include “a single factual citation in his presentation.”
The Scheuer trial fell apart as Hilliard was forced to withdraw the case at the close of the plaintiff’s evidence. Scheuer’s account of his 2014 crash with his Saturn Ion was undercut by evidence that he and his wife, Lisa, might have lied about the extent of his injuries and their impact on the couple’s finances.
Furman issued an order Monday asking Hilliard and co-counsel to submit a response by Feb. 1.