GM to 'Rip Up' Settlements With Ignition Victims

And replace them with open-ended program
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2014 11:38 AM CDT
GM to 'Rip Up' Settlements With Ignition Victims
Kenneth Feinberg, independent claims administrator for the General Motors Ignition Compensation Program, announces the details of the program during a news conference at the National Press Club today.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

General Motors plans to "rip up" its existing settlements related to its ignition switch scandal, and replace them with an open-ended program that will dole out checks worth anywhere from $20,000 to several million dollars, Kenneth Feinberg tells the Wall Street Journal today. Feinberg (who you might remember from his stints heading up the One Fund or monitoring executive pay for the Treasury) says he'll pay anyone who can prove they were hurt in an ignition switch-related crash, be they driver, passenger, pedestrian, or occupant of another involved vehicle—but only if the GM air bags didn't work. "If an air bag deployed, you're out," he says.

GM has set no upper limit on the program. "I don't want a claimant to think he or she is getting less because there is a limited pie of money," Feinberg explains. Many victims who settled with GM before the scandal broke are trying to reopen their cases on the grounds that GM hid information. Feinberg says they can get more money from his program, but only if they give up any right to sue. "If you want punitive damages, don't come to this fund," he tells Bloomberg. One analyst predicts that GM may spend $3 billion in damages before the dust clears. (More Kenneth Feinberg stories.)

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