U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman has appointed two Louisiana-based lawyers as special masters to oversee all aspects of another settlement fund agreed to in September by General Motors and a group of drivers in the ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL) over injuries related to the automaker’s faulty ignition switches. Judge Furman appointed Daniel J. Balhoff and John W. Perry Jr. of Perry Atkinson Balhoff Mengis Burns & Ellis LLC as joint special masters.
These two lawyers are charged with creating a settlement framework, evaluating claims and establishing dollar amounts in the more than 1,380 death and injury lawsuits that GM agreed to resolve with drivers in a “memorandum of understanding” that the company announced in September. We are told that the payoff will be for no more than $575 million. Judge Furman has approved the establishment of this settlement fund.
The automaker announced on Sept. 17 that it had resolved more than half of all death and personal injury lawsuits in the massive ignition switch MDL, as well as a separate shareholder class action that was filed in a Michigan federal court. GM hasn’t disclosed the individual value of each settlement, but only that it would “record a charge of $575 million in the third quarter.” The MDL still includes economic loss suits, as well as 370 injury suits and 84 death suits that are currently pending in New York federal court under Judge Furman.