Kansas man files against GM in Texas suit

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 18, 2007, 1:15pm

2004 Chevy Trailblazer

MARSHALL -- A Kansas resident filed a motor vehicle product liability suit against GM, alleging his Trail Blazer did not have a stability control device.

Charles Davis filed the suit against General Motors Corporation in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas on Sept. 14.

Plaintiff's attorneys, James Mitchell and Andrew Payne of the Dallas law firm of Payne Mitchell Law Group, filed the lawsuit's subject matter jurisdiction as diversity of citizenship.

While driving his 2004 Chevrolet Trail Blazer across an icy bridge on Jan. 21, Davis lost control. The vehicle swerved and eventually rolled, causing Davis injuries. The complaint states that the vehicle lost control because it did not have a version of an electronic stability control (esc), which General Motors incorporated into prior vehicles.

The electronic stability control "helps prevent loss of control accidents" due to momentary or temporary swerving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site states, "ESC cannot increase the available traction, but maximizes the possibility of keeping the vehicle under control and on the road during extreme maneuvers by using the driver's natural reaction of steering in the intended direction (safercar.gov)."

Further, the NHTSA states that September 2008 is the start of three-year phase-in for new light vehicles to be equipped with ESC. By September 2011, all new light vehicles should meet compliance with the rule.

Davis asserts that GM is liable under strict products liability and that the "not crashworthy" vehicle did not meet or comply with federal safety standards and regulations.

"Vehicle in question was defective and in an unreasonably dangerous condition at all times until it ultimately caused Plaintiff's serious injuries," states the lawsuit. "There were alternative designs that, in reasonable probability, would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of injury to Charles Davis."

Davis is seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Plaintiff is also seeking exemplary damages stating that General Motors had a "conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of its consumers."

Currently, General Motors has not responded to the allegations.

Plaintiff is demanding jury trial. Judge T. John Ward will preside.

Case No.: 2:07cv00405

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