This article originally appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the The Dallas Morning News on March 17, 2014:
The recent revelation that the General Motors Co. failed to fix, or warn the public about, a known ignition switch defect in some of its cars for a decade is the kind of thing that drives personal-injury lawyers apoplectic.
According to GM itself, this defect has been linked to 31 accidents and 12 deaths. An independent watchdog group, however, has found that 303 people have died after the airbags in two of the models that GM has now finally recalled failed to deploy.
The next time that you hear someone talking about “frivolous lawsuits” or limiting the amount of damages that a jury can award, you might want to ask yourself a few questions.
Do you think that GM performed any sort of cost-benefit analysis in determining how quickly to protect the public by recalling its dangerous vehicles? Do you think that GM’s decade-long delay in issuing a recall had anything to do with the expenses that would be incurred by acting quickly, compared with the amounts of the jury awards likely to be awarded if they waited?