GM sued after 1995 Suburban rollover

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Nov 20, 2007

Mikal Watts

TEXARKANA – Gloria Hernandez, 8 months pregnant, was driving her family in a 1995 Chevrolet Suburban outside of Dallas. While on a busy interstate, Gloria lost control of the vehicle and it began to roll.

As a result of the accident, Daniel Barbosa, Gloria, and her 12-year-old son were killed.Three other children in the Suburban sustained serious injuries.

The Barbosa and Hernandez families bought a product liability suit against General Motors on Nov. 16 in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The lawsuit claims the 1995 Suburban was "defective in design and unreasonably dangerous." Specifically, the allegations state General Motors is liable for the following product defects: "poor rollover resistance, poor handling and stability, turn on wheel movement, inadequate A-pillar, B-pillar, and roof strength, inadequate and defective latches on the vehicle's doors which resulted in a door opening during the roll sequence and an occupant protection system that failed to protect, restrain, and contain the [occupants] in a foreseeable rollover event."

The lawsuit asserts that GM was negligent through failing to use safer design alternatives that were available and economically feasible at the time of manufacture of the 1995 Suburban.

In addition, the plaintiffs' original complaint, states General Motors conducted testing (called Malibu I and Malibu II) that provided management with common knowledge that a restrained passenger could be severely injured in a rollover.

The suit seeks wrongful death damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional distress, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of care maintenance, services, advice, counsel, love, comfort, and companionship. In addition, the plaintiffs believe General Motors is guilty of gross negligence and therefore, they are seeking punitive damages.

Requesting a trial by jury and representing the families is attorney in charge Shalimar S. Wallis of San Antonio. Other counsel for plaintiffs include Francisco Guerra, IV and Mikal Watts of the San Antonio Watts Law Firm and San Antonio attorney Michael Miller.

Case No.: 5:07cv000175

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