General Motors settled a wrongful death lawsuit, attorneys said Friday, averting a trial on charges the automaker's ignition-switch defect caused the death of a 35-year-old father of five.
The case, filed by the family of James Yingling, was to have been the third of six "bellwether" trials in litigation over the GM defect.
"GM and plaintiffs have reached a settlement agreement in the Yingling v. GM case," a GM spokesman said. "Terms of the settlement agreement are confidential."
An attorney for Yingling's widow, Nadia Yingling, confirmed the agreement, adding, "We are pleased this matter has been resolved and are very proud of our client, Nadia Yingling."
James Yingling was killed in November 2013 when the 2006 Saturn Ion owned by his step-father crashed into a deep culvert. The suit alleged that the ignition-switch defect shut the engine off seconds before the crash, causing Yingling to lose control of the vehicle. The defect also prevented the airbags from deploying, the suit said.
Thousands of people have claimed damages linked to the ignition defects, which GM admitted it hid for more than a decade before it began recalling 2.6 million cars worldwide in February 2014.
Some 235 lawsuits against GM alleging injury or death tied to the ignitions have been consolidated by a New York federal court, which has planned six "bellwether" trials, three picked from each side, to set standards for settling the cases.
GM won the first case when it was withdrawn by plaintiffs after GM demonstrated faults in the plaitiff's claims.
In the second case, a jury last week ruled that a 2014 crash in New Orleans was not caused by the ignition defect.
GM has also established a compensation program that reviewed 4,343 claims and concluded that 399 merited payment totaling $594.5 million.