I’ve linked to Steve Jakubowski’s bankruptcy litigation blog several times during the auto company Chapter 11 proceedings. I think he has done an admirable job of explaining the ins and outs of the process and the peculiar considerations surrounding the auto company actions.
Now, he’s taken an activist interest in a certain issue that should concern anyone with an ounce of compassion. Specifically, the manner in which product liablilty claimants in the Chrysler bankruptcy were totally disenfranchised and the plans to do the same in the GM proceeding. Here is a part of his recent post on the matter:
Well, Howard’s rant is what a lot of panicked plaintiffs’ lawyers involved in cases against GM are screaming these days as they watch years of toil on behalf of people seriously injured by defective GM products (like crushed roofs, exploding “side saddle” gas tanks, and collapsing seat backs) potentially go for naught as GM makes its grandest attempt ever to crush an entire class of former customers and existing and future products liability claimants in a sale that many plaintiffs lawyers of record only received written notice of in the past couple of days.
Those following this blog know my rising concern (even anger) over how products liability claimants were completely stiffed in Chrysler, so much so that Howard’s famous rant came to mind!
So, I decided to do something about it, and officially stepped into the fray by filing this Objection to the GM Sale and this Memorandum in Support jointly with counsel for the Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Action, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, National Association of Consumer Advocates, and Public Citizen.
We should win; whether we do is a “horse of a different color.”
I am not a supporter of much of what the tort bar puts forth. In my opinion they have turned the practice of law into the business of law and in some cases contorted it into a racket. That being said, there are cases in which manufacturers produce deficient products that injure people. When that occurs those individuals are entitled to a hearing and they should not ever be disenfranchised either by the judiciary or the legislative branches of government.
I am frankly astounded that the Obama administration is a party to this. Not only are they stiffing one of their strongest constituencies but their action gainsays their commitment to the middle class. Apparently there is a slight robber baron pulse beating within their populist body.
I tip my hat to Mr. Jakubowski for his concern and efforts.