by: Jim Strickland Updated:
ATLANTA - An internal investigation by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas reveals the legal advice General Motors received about the case of a local nurse driving on her birthday who crashed and died in a defective Chevy Cobalt.
The investigation into the death of 29-year-old Brooke Melton sparked the GM recall crisis.
Consumer Investigator Jim Strickland dug through the Valukas report after Melton's parents received word they won a key legal victory. A federal judge ruled Friday their new lawsuit against GM must remain in Cobb County State Court, rather than be transfered to a New York federal court.
The Valukas report reveals GM's Atlanta lawyer warned the company could pay dearly if the case went to trial.
The document quotes Philip Holladay of King & Spaulding. He warned: " A jury here will almost certainly conclude that the Cobalt's ignition switch is defective and unreasonable dangerous..."
Holladay warned of "a substantial adverse verdict" and concluded: "This case needs to be settled."
"What's even more important is what were the internal discussions that lead him to make that conclusion and who knew about it when and where," said Melton family attorney Lance Cooper.
Despite the warning from about how strong the Melton case would be, GM filed Friday to dismiss the family's new lawsuit, arguing they have no right to rescind the settlement they accepted in 2013, before allegations of a cover up surfaced
“It does make me angry. How dare they dismiss this, after they've almost admitted to everything," said Ken Melton, who is pressing on with a new lawsuit.
GM refused comment.