General Motors’ Recall is Proof ‘Frivolous Lawsuits’ Aren’t a Problem.

This article originally appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the The Dallas Morning News on March 17, 2014:

The recent revelation that the General Motors Co. failed to fix, or warn the public about, a known ignition switch defect in some of its cars for a decade is the kind of thing that drives personal-injury lawyers apoplectic.

According to GM itself, this defect has been linked to 31 accidents and 12 deaths. An independent watchdog group, however, has found that 303 people have died after the airbags in two of the models that GM has now finally recalled failed to deploy.

The next time that you hear someone talking about “frivolous lawsuits” or limiting the amount of damages that a jury can award, you might want to ask yourself a few questions.

Do you think that GM performed any sort of cost-benefit analysis in determining how quickly to protect the public by recalling its dangerous vehicles? Do you think that GM’s decade-long delay in issuing a recall had anything to do with the expenses that would be incurred by acting quickly, compared with the amounts of the jury awards likely to be awarded if they waited?

Gil Hoy
Brookline, Mass.

Gil Hoy is a Boston, MA lawyer, and the founder and owner of the Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates, a Boston personal injury law firm.

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Toyota Agrees to Pay $1.2 Billion to the United States Department of Justice.

In what is likely the largest criminal fine against a car company to date, Japanese automobile manufacturer, Toyota Motors, has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to the United States Department of Justice for its cover up of the defects in its Lexus model cars that are linked to the deaths of five individuals.

In 2009, Toyota-manufactured motor vehicles, particularly certain models of the make Lexus, were first recalled for problems with unintended acceleration. A massive investigation by the Department of Justice revealed that the acceleration problems, particularly sticky gas pedals causing run-away vehicles, were not reported when first discovered by Toyota executives. In fact, Toyota made massive efforts to cover up the problems and avoid recalls. At least five people have died in car accidents linked to unintended acceleration of Toyota cars after the company discovered the issue internally.

Department of Justice officials stated that Toyota executives made the decision to protect the company’s image by avoiding recalls. But this decision may have meant death for some of Toyota’s customers and others on the road. The massive fine reflects the shifting values of the corporate landscape where companies that place profits ahead of the lives of their customers cannot be tolerated.

Unlike many other similar settlements with the government, in this settlement, Toyota executives will be forced to concede that Toyota’s conduct was criminal. Investigation into the criminal behavior of individuals within Toyota will continue, and the company itself is still not immune from prosecution. Toyota’s payment of the fine, and continued cooperation with the government, will only buy the company three more years of a promise by federal authorities not to prosecute.

Manufacturers and sellers of dangerous products can be liable to injured consumers for damages caused by a product defect. Please call 617- 787-3700 or email [email protected], 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to speak with one of our expert Boston product liability lawyers, Massachusetts personal injury attorneys or Massachusetts wrongful death attorneys, if you believe that you have been injured by a defective product.

If you experienced a personal injury accident resulting from a defective product, please call 617-787-3700, 24/7, for your free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyers, Boston, MA product liability lawyers or Boston, MA accidental death attorneys.

Please contact one of our expert Massachusetts defective product attorneys at 617-787-3700 or email us at [email protected]. Your needs are our top priority!

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General Motors Failed to Advise Public of Its Knowledge of a Defect Now Linked to At Least 13 Wrongful Deaths.

An electrical defect involving the ignition switch of 1.6 million General Motors manufactured vehicles has been linked to at least thirteen wrongful deaths. This information has finally come to the attention of car owners, years after the company first realized its possible mistake.

General Motors announced this week the recall of 1.6 million vehicles sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The recall includes: the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, from the 2005-2007 model years; the Saturn Ion, from the 2003-2007 model years; and the Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky from the 2006-2007 model years. The problem, which GM says has been linked to thirteen deaths so far, involves the ignition switch, and can cause the vehicle’s engine to shut off and lose electrical power while going over rough roads or when heavy rings pull on the switch.

The recall will permit General Motors dealers to replace the ignition switches for free. However, the new parts will not be available for at least another month. In addition to the 13 wrongful deaths associated with the defect, GM says that a total of 31 car crashes have been linked to the defect. Because the electrical malfunction causes the car to lose power, air bags were not able to deploy in the fatal crashes.

GM first learned of the problem in 2004, and received a report of the first fatal accident in 2007. According to GM, they waited to reveal the defect because of bankruptcy and internal bureaucracy. Now, Congress is investigating the dangerous defect, with the option to fine GM as much as $35 million. On top of that, GM may face additional lawsuits from the families of the fatal crash victims.

Far too frequently, Massachusetts residents sustain serious personal injuries because of dangerous and defective products. If you or someone you know has sustained a personal injury caused by a defective product, and you want to pursue a legal claim for personal injury damages or wrongful death damages, call 617-787-3700 or email [email protected]. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and speak with an expert Massachusetts defective product attorney, Massachusetts personal injury attorney or Massachusetts wrongful death attorney.

If you would like to speak with an expert in product liability law, call 617-787-3700 for a free, confidential consultation with one of our highly skilled Boston product liability lawyers, Boston, MA personal injury lawyers or Boston, MA wrongful death lawyers.

Please contact our expert Boston, MA law firm at 617-787-3700 or email at [email protected] to get the compensation you deserve!

Your needs are our top priority!

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