Jury Awards $122 Million in GM Suit

posted on:
May 3, 2002

Val Walton

An Alabama jury awarded a $122 million verdict Thursday to a Bullock County man whose son suffered permanent brain damage following a car accident.

Wilbert Jernigan filed suit against General Motors Corp. on behald of his sone, Jeffrey, Jernigan, who was riding in the front seat of a 1993 Oldsmobile Delta 88 driven by his brother that collided with another vehicle in 1999. Jeffrey, then 12, suffered an injury that required doctors to remove portions of his brain.

Jay Cooney, director of legal communications for Detroit-based GM, said Thursday night the company will appeal what he called an “outrageous” jury award. He said driver error caused the accident.

“Jeffery Jernigan was the loser,” Beasley said.

Cooney said that the company extends its sympathies to the Jernigan family but maintains Jeffrey likely would have suffered similar injuries in any passenger car sold during that time.

Cooney said both cars were actually traveling near 50 mph when the near head-on crash occurred.

“The impact forces were the equivalent of driving a vehicle head-first off a three- to four-story building,” Cooney said.

Beasley said the verdict is justified and can be upheld on appeal.

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