Until we handled a wrongful case against General Motors several years ago, I had never heard of the term “silent recall.” The tragic death of a small child, who was a passenger in a brand new Chevrolet pick-up truck manufactured by GM, resulted in a $15 million jury verdict. We learned lots during that case about how the automobile industry really operates. GM had experienced significant stalling problems with several of its vehicles, all of which were equipped with the same engine, but never saw fit to inform its customers of the known problems. In fact, GM knew that its vehicles were stalling while being driven and actually knew exactly what was causing the vehicles to stall. In our case, a defective computer chip was the culprit in our case and all of the GM vehicles affected.
In our case, a brand new pickup truck, in which the young child was riding with his grandfather, stalled after entering an intersection and was struck by a log truck. Testimony from GM engineers and documentary evidence from the company’s own files proved conclusively that the company had known of many other prior stalling incidents. In fact, GM had put a “silent recall” of the vehicles into effect many months prior to the child’s death in our case. The general public, including purchasers of the GM vehicles that were affected, were never made aware of the “silent recall.” If a person brought in a vehicle that had experienced stalling problems, the dealer – because of the “silent recall” – would know exactly what to do. GM actually made their customers pay for replacing the defective parts unless a customer specifically requested that the company pay. After the jury verdict, and an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court (which resulted in a $7.5 million remitittur), GM quietly issued a recall of these models. However, through the time of the recall, General Motors had already profited to the tune of over $42 million by utilizing a “silent recall.”
Interestingly, during oral arguments before the Alabama Supreme Court in our case, GM’s Atlanta lawyers strongly denied the existence of any stalling problems. A few months later after our case was decided, GM issued a massive recall based on the identical problems that we had in our case. In my opinion, that case was a prime example of corporate deceit at the highest levels. It also indicated clearly that profits generally will win out over safety in the corporate boardrooms of many automobile manufacturers. Unfortunately, even with the passage of time since our “silent recall” case, things haven’t changed very much in that respect.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.