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Integrity of GM Valukas Report Questionable

Author Susan Harr

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (June 3, 2014) -- As the public awaits answers promised in GM's "independent" internal investigation into the fatal ignition switch recall, attorneys handling injury and death cases related to the defective vehicles claim that the report by Anton Valukas will be perverted by Valukas' deep ties to the company and should be dismissed as a self-serving investigation by GM's own lawyer.

"This is a case of the fox guarding the hen house," lead attorney Thomas J. Henry stated.  "Valukas and other members of his law firm actually worked for GM during the time that the alleged cover up took place. How can this be called an 'independent investigation' if the very people conducting the investigation worked for GM during the period that is being investigated," he questioned.

"This appears to be an orchestrated white wash by lawyers closely connected to GM for nearly a decade," he added.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Mary Barra asked Valukas to handle the investigation, reportedly stating that the former Assistant U.S. Attorney would provide an "unvarnished" report of GM's actions leading up to the recall. Valukas should be investigating his own law firm's Of Counsel,Robert Osborne, former general counsel and Vice President of GM from 2006-2009.

Valukas' report is expected to answer important questions about why it took more than a decade for GM to address a fatal design flaw in the ignition switch of 2.6 million small cars. The company has admitted that engineers were aware of the problem as far back as 2001

Anton Valukas and Colleagues Worked for GM during Period being Investigated

Anton Valukas, head of GM's internal probe into the delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles linked to at least 13 deaths, has deep ties to GM. He and his firm have been working with the company for nearly 10 years.  His law firm, Jenner & Block, represented GM in various matters during the last decade, a period in which GM is currently being investigated for not reporting ignition switch defects in certain Chevy, Saturn, and Pontiac vehicles.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Valukas himself even served as lead counsel for the "Old GM" during a four-year-long SEC investigation in 2009 while his colleague, Robert Osborne, left Jenner & Block from 2006-2009 to serve as GM's general counsel and Vice President. Jenner & Block then guided the company through its bankruptcy and restructuring, and even represented GM in its IPO in 2010.

"Valukas' firm, Jenner & Block, collected millions in their bankruptcy work at a time when many speculate that the company knew about problems with the ignition switches. Their role as attorneys for GM during the time period in question makes it unlikely that these lawyers could be objective. They would make better witnesses than 'objective' investigators," Thomas J. Henry stated.

"These so-called independent investigators were hand-picked by GM because they have worked side by side with the company for years. There is no way these individuals can offer an unbiased, unvarnished report on the failures at GM which led to the ignition switch recall. Our victims deserve an investigation by true outsiders, not law firms and lawyers who have already made million off of GM," he added.

About Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a national injury firm representing GM recall victims in nearly every state in the U.S. The firm is currently representing more than 1,000 people who died, family members who lost loved ones, serious injury victims, and others harmed by the GM ignition switch recall. 

One of the largest personal injury firms in the United States, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has been representing injured victims nationwide for more than 25 years.  The firm specializes in wrongful death, on the job injury, child injury, pharmaceutical litigation, product liability, catastrophic injury, and company vehicle and 18-wheeler accident cases.

The firm was recently recognized by the National Law Journal for having one of the Top 100 verdicts in the country in 2013 and by Texas Lawyer for having three of the top Texas verdicts for the year.  These cases involved work injuries and company vehicle accidents.  This comes on the heels of winning the number one back injury verdict in the country in 2012.

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Reports Indicate Number of Deaths Linked to GM Recall Likely to Rise

Author Susan Harr

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (May 29, 2014) -- According to published reports, the number of deaths linked to GM's ignition switch recall is likely to rise once the company counts every individual killed in a crash with one of the recalled vehicles. Currently, GM has only admitted responsibility for deaths to front seat passengers. While the company has publicly linked the recalled vehicles to only 13 deaths, reports indicate that once the company takes into account fatalities of backseat passengers and those killed in other vehicles, the death toll will rise.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys, a national injury firm representing more than 800 individuals affected by the recall, has continually pushed GM to take responsibility for what the firm calls a "vast number of deaths" linked to the recall.

"We know of at least 68 deaths potentially linked to the defective cars not to mention countless other serious and catastrophic injuries," lead attorney Thomas J. Henry stated.

"I have personally advised GM's attorneys on the vast number of deaths and injuries I believe caused by the recalled cars… I have provided names and addresses of victims. I have no idea why they are saying there have only been 13 deaths," he added.

Recalled Vehicles Also Linked to Hundreds of Serious and Catastrophic Injuries

Attorneys representing accident victims also find it troubling that GM refuses to publicly acknowledge individuals who suffered serious and catastrophic injuries in accidents involving the recalled vehicles.

Thomas J. Henry was quoted as saying, "There are also 113 victims of serious, life altering injuries, including a baby who was permanently paralyzed and 643 others with broken bones, cuts, and scrapes. How can GM also ignore those victims?"

Firm Representing Nearly all Victims on GM's "13 Deaths" List

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is representing nearly all of the death victims acknowledged by GM on their list of 13, including the family of Gene Erickson who was killed in a Chevy Cobalt crash. His fiancee, Candice Anderson, who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident, was also seriously injured in the accident.

"GM has not even acknowledged the fiance of Gene Erickson…even though they count Gene on their list of 13 death victims,"Thomas J. Henry stated.

The firm also represents the family of Trenton Buzard, an infant who was left permanently paralyzed in a Chevy Cobalt crash that killed two members of his family, who are also on GM's list of 13.

"The same goes for Trenton Buzard. GM acknowledged that their defective vehicle caused the crash that killed his great grandmother and aunt, yet they take no responsibility for the fact that he is now paralyzed for life," Thomas J. Henry stated.

"These victims were injured over the last 10 years…and GM never acknowledged any of them," he added.

About Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a national injury firm representing GM recall victims in nearly every state in the U.S. The firm is currently representing nearly 800 people who died, family members who lost loved ones, serious injury victims, and others harmed by the GM ignition switch recall. 

One of the largest personal injury firms in the United States, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has been representing injured victims nationwide for more than 25 years.  The firm specializes in wrongful death, on the job injury, child injury, pharmaceutical litigation, product liability, catastrophic injury, and company vehicle and 18-wheeler accident cases.

The firm was recently recognized by the National Law Journal for having one of the Top 100 verdicts in the country in 2013 and by Texas Lawyer for having three of the top Texas verdicts for the year.  These cases involved work injuries and company vehicle accidents.  This comes on the heels of winning the number one back injury verdict in the country in 2012.

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Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys Receives Thousands of Responses in GM Recall Investigation

Author Susan Harr

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (May 16, 2014) -- Since launching their Nationwide GM Recall Investigation and Media Campaign, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has received thousands of stories from individuals affected by the recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles with defective ignition switches.

The "My Recall Story" campaign used TV, web, and social media to reach out to Americans affected by the recall encouraging vehicle owners, mechanics, former GM employees, and anyone else who came in contact with these cars to come forward with their stories.

"We asked America for help and America answered," lead GM recall attorney Thomas J. Henry stated.

"We have gotten stories from people involved in crashes, mechanics who worked on the cars, former employees, and family members. While GM may not be willing to reveal the truth about these defective cars, the company cannot keep this quiet – too many others are willing to come forward and do the right thing," he added.

Quotes from "My Recall Story" Campaign

Since launching the campaign in late March, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys, the nationwide injury firm handling a majority of the GM recall injury and death cases from across the U.S., received thousands of stories from individuals affected by the GM ignition switch recall. Excerpts from their stories can be viewed online at the My Recall Story Portal (myrecallstory.com.)

GM Recall Affects Company Perception

According to YouGov's BrandIndex, which conducts daily polls to gauge consumer's perception of brands, GM's brand perception or "Buzz Score" took a nosedive in mid-April, after the company issued recalls for defective ignition switches in millions of Chevy, Pontiac, and Saturn vehicles.

According to BrandIndex, GM's "Buzz Score" dropped to -15 on March 25 from a +8 on Feb. 12. This was reportedly the auto-maker's worst score in three years, even lower than that during the company's 2012 bankruptcy bailout.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Family

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is currently representing individuals affected by the GM recall and have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of victims and their families. Most recently, the firm filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the families of two teens killed in a Saturn Ion accident in 2005.

Excerpt from the lawsuit (Filed in Jefferson County, Texas Cause No. B-195717):

"On September 6, 2005, Emma Dyer was driving with her friend Anthony Harmon in the 2005 Saturn Ion on a Texas roadway in Jefferson County.  It was a clear and dry evening on a straight section of an east/west 2-lane roadway. As Emma was traveling east on the roadway she suddenly lost the ability to steer or control her vehicle. Emma's vehicle left the roadway, entered a grassy area and crashed into a nearby canal. Emma and Anthony drowned in the vehicle."

About Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a national injury firm representing GM recall victims in nearly every stated in the U.S. The firm is currently representing nearly 800 people who died, family members who lost loved ones, serious injury victims, and others harmed by the GM ignition switch recall. 

One of the largest personal injury firms in the United States, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has been representing injured victims nationwide for more than 25 years.  The firm specializes in wrongful death, on the job injury, child injury, pharmaceutical litigation, product liability, catastrophic injury, and company vehicle and 18-wheeler accident cases.

The firm was recently recognized by the National Law Journal for having one of the Top 100 verdicts in the country in 2013 and by Texas Lawyer for having three of the top Texas verdicts for the year.  These cases involved work injuries and company vehicle accidents.  This comes on the heels of winning the number one back injury verdict in the country in 2012.

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