GM Relents On Product Liability

A week or so ago I wrote a post about GM’s attempt to rid itself of any product liability claims that might arise from autos it manufactured prior to its bankruptcy. There was some substantial push-back on this and it appears as if decency achieved a partial victory.

From the NYT:

General Motors and the Obama administration have reached a deal for the carmaker to assume responsibility for product liability claims filed after it emerges from bankruptcy as a new company, even those claims involving vehicles made by the old company, a person briefed on the matter said Saturday.

The deal resolves a problem that could have upended G.M.’s plan for a quick restructuring, this person said.

G.M. and the administration’s auto task force have been negotiating with more than a dozen state attorneys general who have objected to the company’s plan to sell its desirable assets to a new, government-financed entity by mid-July. A hearing to approve the plan is scheduled for Tuesday in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

The chief concern for G.M. and the government is whether customers who have claims about existing products but have not yet filed lawsuits can sue the company in state courts. Because bankruptcy case law is murky on the matter, G.M. and the auto task force chose to assume the liability instead of risking a delay of the company’s emergence from bankruptcy.

If you currently are suing GM, however, you’re going to be out in the cold. Any pending litigation will stay with the old GM which means you get to try and wring blood out of a stone.

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