GM has been all over the news recently – and not for a good reason.
It sure looks like they covered up a known defect in the ignition switch of many of their cars. That defect, which apparently causes the loss of the brakes, power steering and other critical functions - while driving the car - has been blamed for many deaths and injuries so far.
We have seen GM’s CEO on Capitol Hill, apologizing, meeting with families of the victims, and doing all kinds of PR work that big companies with lots of lobbyists do here in D.C.
But how was this defect discovered in the first place?
In a lawsuit, by a lawyer who represented the family of a 29 year old nurse who was killed on her birthday when she lost control of her Chevy Cobalt because the ignition switch shut off, essentially shutting off the car. The lawyer hired experts to review the evidence and get answers for the family. And they found the defect.
In "One Last Thing," CNN commentator Michael Smerconish has a video where he describes the case and the importance of the civil justice system.
Go to CNN.com and watch “One Last Thing: Power in the Courtroom” to watch this powerful reminder of why we need the jury system and the good it can do. Here’s a quote from the commentary:
"We know what we know today only because of the Melton's pursuit of justice, their willingness to file a lawsuit. Our civil justice system, it's often maligned. But, you know, it remains a great check on our free enterprise system. Often, it serves as a more vigilant force than the government itself."
The case and memory of the young nurse is a powerful reminder of why we need the jury system and the good it can do. How many lives has this one case saved? We’ll never know, of course. Because the defect will be fixed and tragedies - like this one that should have been prevented – will be prevented.