GM Says Man Used 'Fabricated' Key To Try And Win Ignition Switch Lawsuit

Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

In 2011, Zachary Stevens crashed his 2007 Saturn Sky into another car, killing its driver. Now Stevens is suing GM, but the automaker says the key he claims to have been using didn’t even belong to the car, so they want the judge to toss out the case, Automotive News reports.

GM’s ignition switch fiasco—caused by a switch that could turn the car and its airbags off if the driver uses a heavy keychain— has cost the company $2 billion in criminal and civil penalties, the news site reports. And now, 2.5 years after the recall, the company is still fighting in court.

We’ve already reported on a case in New Orleans where a driver tried suing GM, claiming he crashed his Saturn because of a faulty ignition switch. That jury decided it was icy road conditions that caused the accident, and not the switch.


Now GM hopes for a similar verdict, as plaintiff Zachary Stevens is trying to obtain damages from the company after crashing his Saturn in Texas. Automotive News says GM claims Stevens, his parents and their lawyers used a false key (which was laden with a heavy keychain) as evidence, and that the key shown to the jury was actually not meant for the 2007 Saturn Sky.

Photo: Molly Riley/AP
Photo: Molly Riley/AP

GM says plaintiffs “fabricated evidence” to make it seem like the heavy keychain caused the key to rotate and turn off the car’s ignition, making Stevens lose control of the car. But since that key didn’t belong to Stevens’ car, GM says the judge should dismiss the case, or tell the jurors to ignore that bit of evidence. GM told the news site the false statements like this one “have hamstrung the search for the truth.”

The good news for Stevens is that he was initially charged with manslaughter, but that was dropped after GM announced its recall. As for whether the Judge will dismiss this lawsuit, tell the jurors of the false key, or let it ride on, we don’t know yet.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

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Garrett Davis

The truth is really what’s key here.