June 3rd, 2009
05:07 PM ET

GM lawsuits thrown out?

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Editor's Note: Tune in tonight for an exclusive story on Amanda Dinnigan's case against GM on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Robert Dinnigan is worried what will happen to his daughter Amanda if GM goes bankrupt this week.

Not because he works there – but because he's suing them.

He and hundreds of others who've taken GM and Chrysler to court for injuries they blame on defects are worried they'll end up with nothing to pay their loved one's medical bills if the companies go belly up.

Many are debating settling their case for far less than they'd get in court.

In Dinnigan's case, he says a faulty seatbelt in a GMC Envoy failed to protect 8-year-old Amanda, who's now a quadriplegic.

He estimates her health care costs to be $500,000 a year.

"It's a very big concern right now," said Dinnigan, 47, an ironworker in Local 361, who has assembled a mini-intensive care unit in his Smithtown, L.I., home for Amanda.

Their lawsuit is still in the early stages and because he'd be considered an unsecured creditor, he'd go to the very bottom of the list of claimants against GM in bankruptcy court. And even if there is a settlement or verdict in the Dinnigans' favor, they might collect only pennies on the dollar.


Filed under: 360° Radar • GM
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. John

    Who is really responsible? Vehicles don’t do anything unless you put a driver in them. People need to take responsibility, Amanda’s circumstances will not change, and blaming car manufactures for not covering every possible scenario will not prevent the next crash. Good trained drivers will and can make a difference.
    Every motor vehicle operator should take a defensive driving class and retake the class every other year to stay current on their skills of preventing crashes.

    June 4, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  2. pancho

    i gues we will have to go after the dealer who sold the vehicle ,
    gm dont care if they make a mistake in disigning a suv they could care less ,i used to be a cop in mexico and they aproach me gm to change facts in order not to pay,is disgusting this is a good way for them to avoid paying for damages ,but american people are not stupid ,is going to hurt them even more in their sales ,the people i have tak to said they are going to avoid bying a gm car wow what a bad publicity for gm

    June 4, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  3. Debbie

    Unfortunately, that's what happens when a company files for protection in bankruptcy court. All debts, lawsuits, maybe even employee accrued vacation and sick time as well as any 401K holdings tied to the company's stock are adjudicated through the court. It's a no-win situation for debtors and employees.

    June 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  4. Noel

    IWonderwho will have to pay legal and hospital bills if the cases are thrown out?

    June 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  5. Alyzabeth

    That's awful that they could get off for injuring people with defective products.

    June 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  6. Kate Collins

    Stories like this make me sick in so many ways. GM and other big company's have so much protection with big lawyers and goverment bailouts. The average american who works hard and takes care of his or her family has no protection. I hope this family gets what it needs to take care of there daughter. I wounder what would happen to me if I put out a product that hurt or killed people?

    June 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm |