CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (April 25, 2014) — GM CEO Mary Barra has announced that the company expects recommendations in early June from victim compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg regarding the recent recall of 2.5 million vehicles with defective ignitions. This could pave the way for a concrete plan for compensating victims who were seriously injured or killed in crashes involving the defective vehicles, which have been linked to at least 31 accidents and 303 deaths.
Feinberg is best known for handling victim compensation plans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings and the legal fee allocation in the Holocaust slave labor litigation. His appointment was announced by GM CEO Mary Barraduring her testimony to Congress in early April.
“This is what we have been pushing GM to do,” lead GM recall litigation attorney Thomas J. Henry stated. Thomas J. Henry is representing over 400 people who have lost loved ones, suffered serious injuries or otherwise have been affected by this recall.
“On behalf of our clients, we have been conducting a national investigation, but also have brought numerous lawsuits for victims we represent. We have aggressively positioned our client’s cases for a GM resolution process – so long as the resolution is just and fair for the victims. We welcome Mr. Feinberg’s input in the process of discussing victim compensation,” he added. Mr. Henry finished by saying, “Mr. Feinberg’s wealth of experience in dealing with catastrophic injury and death due to some of man’s worst examples of deliberate indifference for human life will be invaluable.”
Although attorneys for the victims are pleased that GM is moving forward in exploring a victim compensation fund, those involved in the ongoing litigation are closely watching GM’s every move, concerned that the company may attempt to shield themselves from liability in the pending injury and death cases.
GM filed a motion in Texas federal court last week (Case No. 2:14-CV-00089), asking the judge to hold off on rulings related to GM recall injury and death cases until a New York bankruptcy court decides whether or not the company is responsible for defects and crashes that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring. This legal maneuver could help shield the “New GM” from pending lawsuits, and force victims to pursue compensation from the “Old GM,” which is now bankrupt.
Earlier this year, GM announced the recall of 2.5 million Chevy, Pontiac, and Saturn vehicles with defective ignition switches. The ignition switches on these vehicles can fail, causing loss of vehicle power, loss of power steering, and non-deployment of airbags. The recalled vehicles have been linked to 303 deaths and numerous other accidents and injuries.
Thomas J. Henry is one of the largest personal injury firms in the United States and has been representing injured victims nationwide for more than 25 years. The firm handles 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.