After a personal meeting with GM Victims Compensation Fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg, Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere L. Beasley says he is willing to give the plan a chance. Beasley, along with Beasley Allen shareholder Cole Portis, who heads of the firm’s Products Liability Section, and Lance Cooper, founder of The Cooper Firm based in Marietta, Ga., met with Feinberg on July 9 in Atlanta.
“I have been somewhat critical of the manner in which General Motors set up the compensation plan to be administered by Ken Feinberg. For example, I believed that General Motors had made the criteria for eligibility much too restrictive and limited. While I believe the criticism was justified, I agreed to meet with Mr. Feinberg to discuss how the plan would be implemented,” Beasley says. “Lance Cooper, Cole Portis and I met with Mr. Feinberg in Atlanta on Wednesday. We had a candid discussion covering a broad range of topics relating to the General Motors litigation, including how the plan would work for our clients. We all agreed that the details of our discussion would be confidential. I must say that I was impressed with Mr. Feinberg’s candor and his willingness to listen to our views. While we didn’t agree on everything, I do believe the meeting was productive.
“At the conclusion of the lengthy meeting, we have decided to submit claims, including death claims and those involving personal injury, to the plan. I believe our clients will receive fair treatment from the Claims Administrator. Of course there will be clients of ours who will prefer to keep their claims in the courts. We will continue to file lawsuits, but will give the plan a chance to work. If it doesn’t work for our clients we will have the option of going back to the court system.”
GM initially recalled about 780,000 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles on Feb. 13. Twelve days later, it expanded the recall to include an additional 590,000 model-year 2003-07 Saturn Ion, Chevy HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky vehicles. That initial recall now encompasses 2.6 million vehicles, and GM admits to 13 deaths related to the defect. In June, GM recalled an additional 3.4 million midsize and large cars for the same ignition switch defect. In July, GM recalled 17 older model (1997-2005) vehicles. GM attributes seven crashes, three deaths and eight injuries to this latest group of recalled vehicles, which it says allows “inadvertent ignition key rotation.” So far, GM has recalled 17.1 million cars this year because of the ignition switch defect.
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