CNN U.S. News

GM settles exploding gas tank cases

September 12, 1995
Web posted at: 7:00 a.m. EDT

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- General Motors has settled four lawsuits resulting from explosions of so-called "side-saddle" gas tanks that it installed on pickup trucks from 1973 to 1989.

Terms of the settlements were not disclosed by either GM or Jim Butler, the Columbus, Georgia attorney who filed the cases.

One of the cases settled was Moseley vs. General Motors, the highly publicized lawsuit filed in 1989 by the parents of 17- year-old Shannon Moseley of Snellville, Georgia.

The Moseley case, filed after Shannon Moseley burned to death following an accident in his 1984 GM pickup, resulted in an initial $105 million judgment that was reversed on appeal.

The other three cases were filed in Oklahoma and Kansas, by survivors of loved ones who died in crashes of GM pickups.

Tom and Elaine Moseley, parents of Shannon Moseley, appeared at a news conference with Butler in Atlanta Monday. They said they were accepting a settlement in part because their family was tired of the protracted litigation and it was time to move on.

They said their cause was undermined by the federal government's failure to order a recall of affected GM trucks or take other severe action against the automaker. (390K AIFF sound or 390K WAV sound)

Butler took the opportunity to blast GM again and said that although he was settling four cases, he would be participating in other litigation against GM.

"Again we call on GM to recall and fix these fatally defected trucks," Butler said. "We urge Americans to rise up and do what their government would not do, to force GM with expressions of outrage to recall and fix these trucks." (4.5M movie)

In a statement from its Detroit headquarters, GM noted that the settlements came just before an Oklahoma case filed by Butler was scheduled to go to trial. The GM statement reiterated the company's belief that the fuel tank system on its 1973-87 pickups was safe.

"GM was fully prepared to go to trial in the Bishop (Oklahoma) case, confident in its position that the fuel system on the 1973-1987 C/K pickup truck is a safe design," the company said in its statement.

"The cumulative safety record of these trucks readily vindicates the decision of the GM engineers who designed them and the millions of individuals who bought or drove them."


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