$8 Million-Plus Awarded in GM Crash Case
CITIZENS' VOICE - WILKES-BARRE, PA
Auto Interior Used in County Courtroom
Settlement has been reached in the punitive phase of the lawsuit brought by a Bucks Township couple against General Motors Corp. as the result of a collision of vehicles more than five years ago.
The amount of settlement was not disclosed in the courtroom of Judge Correale Stevens and the jury was dismissed from further service in the case. The trial opened Sept. 6. There is no limit as to what a jury could award in the punitive phase of a trial.
There will be no appeal by GMC, it was announced.
There jury, following the initial phase of the trial, awarded William and Margaret Davis of Indian Lake, White Haven, $8 million.
The final amount of the case can be listed as "$8 million plus."
This case is probably the first in the U.S. which went to a jury verdict for plaintiffs that the vehicle was defective without an airbag safety system, and the first such case to jury verdict that a door mounted belt safety device was defective.
A jurist in Texas, about two weeks ago, certified a class action complaint relative to door mounted safety system in vehicles.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis were represented in the case against GMC by attorneys Joseph Quinn, Michelle Quinn, and Melissa Scartelli and paralegal Rita groves. Also participating was attorney Larry Coben of Arizona, an automobile expert.
Mr. Davis, following completion of the entire trial, stated Wednesday that he and his wife are very happy the case has been concluded after more than five years.
Mr. Davis was seriously injured in a collision of vehicles Aug. 15, 1989, on Route 115, Bear Creek the safety belt system of the vehicle, purchased in 1988, was defective and the man was not given an option to secure an airbag for his General Motors car.
The case came to trial before Judge Stevens and the jury Sept. 6 and the verdict of $8 million was handed up on Sept. 21. The punitive phase of the case opened Sept. 28.
Among the prime witnesses for the plaintiffs in the trial was John Ehrlichman, former legal counsel and advisor to the late President Richard Nixon.
Attorney Quinn reported he is not at liberty to discuss the settlement of the case.
However, he noted that this is the first case in the United States in which a verdict in favor of plaintiffs was given in contention of defectiveness due to lack of an airbag. He also noted the recent decision of the jurist in Texas relative to the class action.