Anderson v. General Motors

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Case Synopsis:

A jury ordered General Motors to pay $4.9 billion to the Anderson family for a defectively designed fuel system that caused their Chevy Malibu to burst into flames after it was rear-ended on December 24, 1993. Brian Panish of Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP represented the Andersons in their auto product liability suit which resulted in the largest personal injury verdict in U.S. history at the time.

“The clients that we represent come to us because they’ve got some wrongs that need to be made right, and there’s no one else that’s going to do it but us.”

–Brian Panish, Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP

Patricia Anderson, her four children, and Jo Tigner, a family friend, were coming home from church on Christmas Eve 1993 when their 1979 Chevy Malibu was rear-ended by a drunk driver. The Malibu’s gas tank exploded. As the fire consumed the Malibu, the adults were able to escape, but the four children were trapped in the back of the car. Young Alisha Parker was the most gravely injured. Her burns were so severe that she lost the fingers of one hand and has undergone more than 70 surgeries.

Anderson vs GM Case Articles:

The Biggest Jury Verdict of 1999

A typical verdict last year was way up, but nothing like this one.

Was it the boom or was it good lawyering?

Are large jury verdicts an aberration? If so, 1999 was a year of aberrations.

Lasting Impact - How an Internal Memo Written 26 Years Ago is Costing GM Dearly

Suits Over Fuel-System Fires Beleaguer the Car Maker; One Settled, Scores to Go

Burn Victims Say They’ll Split Award to Benefit Others

Appealing to the court of public opinion as they try to protect the largest personal injury award in history, the survivors of a fiery crash will donate half the $4.9 billion.

Burn Victims Offer to Trade Cash for Recall

Court: Attorney for six who won $4.9-billion judgement against General Motors says they will forgo most of it if cars similar to theirs are fixed.

The Low Road

GM Deserves Punitive’s for Valuing Profit More Than Human Lives.

Senate Mulls Criminalizing A Tort Issue

Proposal to Add Prosecution for Product Liability

The Big Top

Attorney Brian Panish won a record $5 billion for Alisha Parker, Ty-shon Haney and Pat Anderson in last year’s No. 1 verdict, a product liability case against General Motors.

Other Publications:

Litigator Profile – Going Long

Verdicts & Settlements – The GM case’s lead plaintiff lawyer – an ex-football player – muscles through cases with tenacity in the courtroom and commitment to his clients…

Road Kill

General Motors, Ford, Firestone, and now Goodyear, are learning to fear [Santa Monica attorney]. With other consumer attorneys, he’s on a mission to shed new light on the auto industry’s dirty little secrets.

TOP 10 VERDICTS – Thinking Big

California juries awarded over $5.5 billion in the 10 biggest verdicts reported in 1999. Is the Golden State taking a stand against injustice, or merely feeling the effects of a prosperous era?…

Anderson v. GM Case Summary

Anderson Case Summary – On July 9, 1999, a Los Angeles jury unanimously held General Motors liable for $4.8 billion dollars in punitive damages and $107 million in compensatory damages.

GM Should Stop Passing The Buck

Richard W. Shapiro, who wrote the Nov. 25 letter to the editor “Perpetuating untruths undermines justice,” was a member of the trial team that defended General Motors in the Anderson case…

Anderson Verdict Submission (PDF)

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