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Judge needs more time on GM recalled cars request

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A federal judge in Texas said she would consider arguments made Friday and await additional information, before deciding whether to grant an emergency injunction that could force General Motors to tell owners of more than 2 million cars with a defective ignition to not drive them until repaired.

US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said she had not had time to fully read a new brief by the plaintiffs filed only shortly before the hearing.

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A flawed ignition switch in Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, and other small cars allows the key to turn from the ‘‘run’’ position to the ‘‘accessory’’ point, causing loss of power steering, power brakes, and the airbags.

GM has admitted to knowing the switches were defective for at least a decade, but didn’t start recalling the vehicles until February. The Detroit automaker has linked the faulty ignition switch to 13 deaths, while others, including the families of some victims, say there have been more.

On Wednesday, GM chief executive Mary Barra told a Senate subcommittee that owners can continue safely using the cars if precautions are taken.

On Friday, plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Hilliard described a defect that could occur at any time and was especially impacting young people because the cars were marketed to ‘‘newly minted drivers.’’

‘‘There is no safe way to drive this vehicle at all because of the unknown event that has to occur for the defect to show up,’’ Hilliard said.

He pointed to the portion of GM’s recall notice that said there was a risk if ‘‘your vehicle experiences rough road conditions or other jarring or impact related events.’’

Hilliard scrolled through photographs of the victims projected onto a large screen in the courtroom and spoke of youth lost. He called witnesses who testified about accidents or close calls in their vehicles.

‘‘The car just died on me,’’ Laura Valle of Corpus Christi testified.

Hilliard urged the judge to force GM to do more. He proposed a ‘‘Do Not Drive’’ sticker that would be plastered on every vehicle until it was repaired.

But David Balser, a GM lawyer, called the measure Hilliard was asking the judge to take ‘‘unprecedented.’’

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