In an announcement that is good news for injury victims, Chrysler said it will accept product liability claims in a broader number of cases than originally planned in its reorganization under bankruptcy protection. The story was reported by the Associated Press. Here are excerpts:
The automaker said it will now consider product-related lawsuits from consumers involved in accidents that occurred after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection in June that involve vehicles manufactured by the old company. A company spokesman said the changes do not include product liability claims filed before the company’s April 30 filing.
Consumer groups and individuals with product-related lawsuits contested a condition of the Chrysler sale to Italian automaker Fiat Group SpA that would release the company from product liability claims related to vehicles it sold before the asset sale.
Compensation for such claims would have had to come from the parts of the old company not sold to Fiat. But those assets have limited value and would be unlikely to have anything to pay out.
Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, said Chrysler had “responded to pressure from injured victims and consumer groups and we commend them for taking this important step to protect public safety.”
Doroshow said that “while this decision is a victory for consumers, there are still hundreds of people who were injured before the bankruptcies by defective Chrysler and GM vehicles that still have no recourse because the companies continue to take no responsibility for pre-bankruptcy deaths and injuries.”