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General Motors Resistance to Executive Deposition Goes to Michigan Court


David Domina and Claudia Stringfield-Johnson represent the family of a man killed when an integral piece of safety equipment, intentionally left out of Chrysler pickups, permitted the pick up to move, roll over him, and cause his death.

During the course of discovery against Chrysler, Robert Lutz, now a senior executive at General Motors and formerly with Chrysler, emerged as a witness with knowledge. Domina Law Group pc llo asked for Lutz's testimony. General Motors chose not to respond at all. So did Lutz.

Subpoenas were issued. A resourceful process server in Michigan helped Domina and Stringfield. Eventually, General Motors agreed to accept the Subpoena, but then moved to Quash it in Court. But, Domina and Stringfield were not finished.

Now, the United States District Court in Detroit will decide if Mr. Lutz is required to testify. A ruling is expected.

General Motors' resistance is an example of the difficulty plaintiff's lawyers can encounter trying to find the truth in an effort to help families who suffer losses at the hands of big business.

Meanwhile, the case against DaimlerChrysler, involving brake-shift interlock devices, is proceeding toward trial. Trial is set in Des Moines, Iowa in January 2006. The case involves an automatic transmission Dodge Ram pickup. DaimlerChrysler, and its predecessor Chrysler, voluntarily chose to leave brake-shift interlock devices, sometimes known as park-shift interlock devices, or shift-lock devices, out of its vehicles for nearly a decade after all its competitors installed them. General Motors put the devices in its vehicles in the early 1990's, but DaimlerChrysler did not complete the process of doing so until at least 2001.

For more information on this case, please read the brief.

Robert Lutz, and other Chrysler executives, are believed to have made decisions that specifically overrode engineering recommendations about the need for this incremental piece of safety equipment.

"Suing a major company involves learning its corporate structure, internal architecture, movement of documents within the company, related matters, and the way it changes its names, shifts its personnel, handles its discovery, and uses it's lawyers," Domina observed. Stringfield-Johnson added, " One has to become an expert of the company to sue it."

Domina Law Group pc llo has handled many different complicated product liability claims against the auto industry.

Domina Law Group pc llo is a firm of trial lawyers. We specialize in complex litigation on a national basis. Our lawyers are ethical, aggressive, and committed to providing spirit and vitality to the judicial system and our client’s legal rights.

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