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GM: No settlement talks until judge rules

General Motors Co., moving to expand its immunity from lawsuits over accidents and fallen prices after recalling almost 29 million cars in North America, said it sees no need to try to settle customers’ claims until a judge decides whether it is legally responsible for faults in its predecessor’s cars.

GM said this week that it will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber before Aug. 11 to dismiss accident and economic loss claims arising from non-ignition flaws in cars sold by old GM, as the pre-bankruptcy company is known.

The automaker, fighting more than 120 suits, previously asked the Manhattan judge to affirm 2009 rulings that would free it from responsibility for fallen prices of 2.6 million cars recalled for faulty switches.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra has warned that she will fight all switch-based claims except for those arising from accidents. Lawyer Kenneth Feinberg has been hired by the company to take those claims.

GM announced its intentions in a July 21 letter to the federal judge in Manhattan handling the ignition-switch suits pending a ruling from Gerber.

The automaker will reject non-ignition claims over pre-July 10, 2009, accidents and all economic loss claims related to other faults in old GM cars, it said. The date marks the birth of the new GM.

The case is In Re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, MDL No. 2543, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (Manhattan).