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Class action launched against GM Canada by parents of Ont. man who died in crash

Images of the GM car plant in Oshawa on July 20, 2013.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

A Canadian law suit against General Motors is being pursued by the parents of an Ontario man who died in a 2012 head-on collision while driving a 2006 Saturn Ion.

The suit is being brought against GM Canada and others as a national class action related to recent worldwide recalls by the automaker, which is fixing defects in ignition switches and power steering.

The suit on behalf of the family of Nick Baker of Cornwall, Ont., says his parents received a recall notice for their son's vehicle on March 31 of this year – 18 months after he died at age 22 in the fatal crash.

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The suit alleges that the airbag in the Saturn Ion didn't deploy in Baker's crash and GM should have been much quicker to fix a problem that was known by the company for years before it issued the recall notices.

The suit has yet to be recognized as a class action and its claims haven't been tested in court. General Motors has said previously that it doesn't comment on matters before the courts.

Numerous suits have been launched since GM recently recalled about 1.6 million vehicles worldwide, including 235,000 sold in Canada, to fix a variety of cars including the Saturn Ion.

The Baker suit is at least the third class action initiated in Canada against the global automaker related to 2014 recall announcements that have been the subject of a U.S. congressional investigation into GM's handling of the recall.

The Delaney's law firm in Ottawa, which represents the Baker family, is working with Rochon Genova LLP, a Toronto firm that has handled several large class actions.

Last month, Merchant Law Group LLP filed claims against the Detroit-based auto maker in Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, saying that GM misled customers about safety issues by hiding its knowledge of the ignition problems.

Sutts, Strosberg LLP, based in Windsor, Ont., filed a similar suit in Ontario on April 3 on behalf of all people who owned one of seven GM-manufactured vehicles, including Saturn Ions in the 2004 to 2007 model years.

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