A lawsuit that resulted in a $122 million verdict against General Motors in 2002 Ã¢e” one of the ten largest that year Ã¢e” was settled this month as attorneys prepared for new trial in the case.
PlaintiffÃ¢e(TM)s counsel Jere Beasley said the settlement was confidential.
In May 2002, a jury in Bullock County, Ala., returned a $122 million verdict against GM for a collision that left Jeffrey Jernigan with severe brain damage. The verdict Ã¢e” which was automatically cut to $82 million because of a state law limiting punitive damages Ã¢e” was one in a series of big judgments cited by business groups concerned about AlabamaÃ¢e(TM)s judicial system. (See Ã¢eoeGM Slammed With $122M Head Injury Verdict,Ã¢e Lawyers Weekly USA, Jan. 6, 2003. Search words for LWUSA Archives: Jernigan and Bowden.)
In February 2003, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned the award because of problems with jury selection and ordered a new trial was scheduled to begin on April 12.
The case stemmed from a two-vehicle collision on Dec. 10, 1999. Jernigan, then 12, was riding in the front seat of a 1993 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with his seatbelt on when the passenger compartment of the car collapsed around him.
In the lawsuit, the boyÃ¢e(TM)s father, Bullock County Circuit Clerk Wilbert Jernigan, contended GMÃ¢e(TM)s product was defective and dangerous.
In the settlement, GM admitted no liability.
Ã¢eoeWe stand behind the performance of the vehicle,Ã¢e GM spokeswoman Brenda Rios said.
Beasley said the boy, now 16, is estimated to need $10 million in care for the rest of his life.
Ã¢eoeOur goal was to make sure the boy was taken care of,Ã¢e he said.