But DeFeo said the prospect for success in such suits are grim. Juries may find it hard to hold a dealer responsible for injuries stemming from alleged defects in GM and Chrysler cars when the auto companies themselves may be to blame.
"Part of this whole scheme is to prevent people like the Coles from having responsible parties" to sue, DeFeo said. "It's just plain legal gymnastics."
For now, Cole said he wishes the government would stop investing taxpayer money in GM.
"I think if they're going to not take care of their obligations, we don't need to give them a penny," he said.