After a meeting with Kenneth Feinberg, General Motors (GM) Victims Compensation Fund administrator, we decided to give the plan a chance. I, along with Cole Portis, who heads up our firm’s Products Liability Section, and Lance Cooper, founder of The Cooper Firm based in Marietta, Ga., met with Mr. Feinberg, at his request, on July 9 in Atlanta. We agreed that the details of our discussions would be confidential.
I have been somewhat critical of the manner in which General Motors set up the compensation plan that was to be administered by Mr. Feinberg. For example, General Motors made the criteria for eligibility much too restrictive and limited. While I believe the criticism was justified, I agreed to meet with Mr. Feinberg to discuss how the plan would be implemented. During the meeting, we had a candid discussion covering a broad range of topics relating to the General Motors litigation. This included how the plan would work for our clients. I must say that I was impressed with Mr. Feinberg’s candor and also his willingness to listen to our views. While we didn’t agree on everything, I do believe the meeting was productive for all concerned.
At the conclusion of the lengthy meeting, we have decided to submit a number of claims, including death claims and those involving personal injury, to the compensation fund. I believe our clients will receive fair treatment from the Claims Administrator. Of course, there will be clients of ours who will prefer to keep their claims in the courts and we will honor their decisions. We will also continue to file lawsuits, but will give the plan a chance to work. But if the plan doesn’t work for our clients, we will have the option of going back to the court system. I am reasonably sure we will have some cases that will be heard by a jury.
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