Tracy hits Marshall courts with four suits against GM

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 13, 2007, 10:29am

E. Todd Tracy of Dallas has developed a passion for NASCAR through years in vehicle liability litigation.

Marshall - Vehicle liability attorney E. Todd Tracy of Dallas filed four lawsuits against General Motors this past week in the Eastern District of Texas – Marshall Division.

On behalf of the plaintiffs, attorney Tracy alleges the plaintiffs' vehicles were not "reasonably crashworthy" and were "unreasonably dangerous." Each lawsuit details that the plaintiffs were wearing their three-point seatbelt at the time of an accident.

As a motor vehicle product liability attorney (who ironically has a law partner named Colleen Carboy), Tracy "focuses on cases involving vehicle safety, vehicle component parts suppliers, and child seat defects." Todd Tracy claims to have successfully handled more 1,950 world-wide cases and obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts. Testifying as an expert before the U. S. Congress, Tracy has discussed airbag safety, occupant protection and vehicle aggressivity or incompatibility.

The Tracy firm produces vehicle safety brochures regarding safety hazards for clients and other attorneys. In addition, the firm maintains a Dallas vehicle storage facility for testing and inspection of potential safety defects.

Tracy says his legal practice involving auto safety had led to a passion for racing.

"Safety advances that we see in today's passenger vehicles, oftentimes are developed in racing programs," the Tracy firm Web site states. "Because of this technology transfer Todd and Amanda Tracy actively participate in various aspects of the racing world."

Although AV rated by Martindale-Hubble, Tracy was sanctioned in 1996 after withdrawing from representing the plaintiff in the case Bullard vs. Chrysler Corporation (4:94cv134).

The suit involved a woman who was injured through exposure of air bag chemicals released in a collision. The court concluded that Tracy filed a motion to withdraw as co-counsel because of pressure from defendant Chrysler.

"Tracy and Laird [co-counsel] both claim that Chrysler, through its attorneys, conveyed to Tracy that he was a rising star in automobile design litigation and that if he wished to continue in his success at getting favorable treatment for his clients from Chrysler, he should withdraw from representation of (the plaintiff)," wrote Judge Brown. "In short, no cases would be settled and Tracy would be forced to try all his cases with Chrysler."

In a letter to Laird, Tracy discussed his involvement in the case, "(Chrysler) simply has me by the testicles. I cannot bite the hand that feeds me so well, especially since I have so many good clients that are being held up. This may be cowardly on my part, but with my new practice, Tort Reform looming and the uncertainties of the future, I have no choice. This is purely business and economic decision."

In court papers, Chrysler denied Tracy would benefit from withdrawing and stated the allegations were "untrue and offensive."

Continuing with his specialty, in a lawsuit from February of this year, Tracy argued Honeywell International, Inc., a seat-belt manufacturer, knew its seat-belts were unlatching during certain test conditions. After three days of trial, a Marshall jury sided with Tracy and ordered Honeywell to pay $24 million to the family of an 18-year-old who was killed in a rollover accident.

The four lawsuits filed this week in Marshall are in many ways similar to the $24 million verdict lawsuit. Within each case, Tracy alleges the plaintiffs' vehicles were "unreasonably dangerous as designed, manufactured, assembled, marketed and tested" because defects ranging from the door structure, door hinges, structural integrity, side impact protection, restraint system, and roof structure.

General Motors has not yet responded to the lawsuits.

Judge John Ward will preside over:
Davie v. General Motors. Case No.: 2:07cv00338
Laasko et al v. General Motors. Case No.: 2:07cv00339
Brown v. General Motors. Case No.: 2:07cv00346.

Magistrate Judge Chad Everingham will preside over:
Hoover et al v. General Motors. Case No.: 2:07cv00344

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