Venue Arguments in GM Recall Cases are Underway with Florida Possible Destination
Preliminary proceedings in the General Motors recall cases got underway recently, when plaintiffs’ lawyers appeared before the court to argue for venue placement. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, 15 lawyers went before a federal court panel to explain why the numerous GM product liability cases should be consolidated and heard in one federal court within their respective states. Each lawyer was allowed two minutes to essentially sell the panel on the advantages of their state. The Florida representative argued that the state offers speed, with no significant delay in the proceedings. A California representative was also present, pointing to a recent automotive liability case that was heard and decided within the state.
So far, 58 cases are pending for economic losses stemming from defective GM vehicles. To date, the automaker recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches. Since the recalls were announced, GM is allegedly linked to 13 auto-related deaths.
Along with the liability cases, GM is also embroiled in a bankruptcy-related dispute under the jurisdiction of New York federal courts, which further complicates the venue issue. Lawyers for GM reportedly argued that none of the cases can move forward until the bankruptcy court makes a final ruling. The issue involves claims that were made prior to 2009. The GM lawyer argued that the bankruptcy essentially created an “old GM” and a “new GM.” According to the article, he asserted that the old claims should be brought against the “old GM.”
Plaintiff lawyers reportedly countered these arguments, stating that there is no need to wait on the bankruptcy decision, because it involves an entirely different issue. According to the report, the panel is expected to make a final decision within the next two weeks.
Types of Product Liability Claims
In the state of Florida, there are several types of product liability claims:
- Design defect – These cases allege that the company’s design of the product is responsible for the condition that caused the injury. The design is inherently flawed, without regard to manufacturing issues or use. The GM recall cases fall into this category. Claimants allege that the ignition switch was defectively designed and worked improperly, causing injuries to the defendants.
- Manufacturing defects – These problems occur during the production process. An error of some kind occurred during the manufacturing phase, causing the product to work improperly and cause injury. An example of a manufacturing defect is a bicycle that was made without brakes, or medicine that is tainted by poisonous material.
- Failure to provide adequate warnings – This third type of product liability occurs when the parent company fails to provide proper warning to users of the product. This generally involves a product that is dangerous in some unexpected way. A medicine that is placed on the market without a label warning of side effects is an example of this type of product liability.
If you or a family member has suffered a product liability injury, call Pita & Del Prado in Miami, Florida 305-670-2889 for a free consultation. Put the skills of experienced trial lawyers to work for you.