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Arizona filed a lawsuit against General Motors, claiming the automaker put the public at risk by concealing safety defects to avoid the cost of recalls. Arizona was seeking an estimated $3 billion from GM, The New York Times reported.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said civil penalties could be up to $10,000 per violation. Hundreds of thousands of "unsuspecting" car owners and lessees had been driving unsafe vehicles, he said in a statement. GM said on Thursday: "We have reviewed the complaint filed by the State of Arizona. It misrepresents the facts, the performance of our vehicles and our work to ensure the safety of our customers. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves.” It said it was committed to recalling vehicles proactively whenever a safety issue is identified. GM has been hit by a slew of lawsuits this year since it announced the recall of 2.6 million vehicles because a problem with the ignition switch could cause it to slip out of position, cutting power to air bags, steering and brakes. The recalls have grown to encompass numerous problems affecting millions of vehicles. About 300,000 of the vehicles recalled this year were registered in Arizona, the New York Times reported. The attorney general said the case was the first by a U.S. state against GM for its alleged role in suppressing knowledge of defects and not recalling vehicles in a timely manner.