Feinberg Plan Unveiled, Endures Criticism From Attorneys
Victim compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg, hired by General Motors to develop a program to pay those harmed or killed by the ignition switch at the center of the February 2014 recall and subsequent fallout, unveiled his compensation plan Monday. However, the plan found a few critics over its lack of punitive damage claims, and the fact all payments would be made under Feinberg’s discretion.
Automotive News reports the plan will have no cap on payments, and will accept claims from anyone involved in an GM-related accident where the airbag failed to deploy as a result of a loss of power, including other drivers, passengers and bystanders, and even if other factors — alcohol, no seat belts et al — were involved. Further, those who had settled with the automaker previously can toss aside the settlement paperwork and file a claim, though all who do will forfeit their right to sue the automaker afterwards.
Claimants will need to file “various examples of circumstantial evidence” that the ignition switch was the main cause of any accident, with payment based on death, catastrophic injury, and/or less serious injury/outpatient treatment. Claims will be accepted between August 1 and December 31, 2014, and more information can be found via the program’s website.
Meanwhile, The Detroit News reports attorney Jere L. Beasley of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, Ala. says the plan is lacking in punitive damages, proclaiming it unfair for GM “to escape wrongful conduct” in its part of the ignition switch crisis. He also wants a judge to oversee the payments, and believes the plan places too much of a burden on those affected to prove they were harmed by the automaker’s misconduct. Beasley, fellow attorney Lance Cooper, and Texas lawyer Robert Hilliard are all working with their clients to determine whether to pursuit a claim or continue forward with their lawsuits.
Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.
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