By now we know that ignition defects in Chevrolet Cobalts contributed to the deaths of at least 13 people. The real number may be more than 20 times as high. But we could have found out a lot sooner — soon enough, perhaps, to save many of those lives. The facts were in court records discovered over the course of civil lawsuits brought by those who were injured and families of the dead. But part of the price exacted by General Motors for settling the cases was that the documents would remain secret.
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