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Hello, my name is Darrell Castle and I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee, and on this video today I’m talking about General Motors and the controversy surrounding that company recently, where it is accused of essentially allowing 13 people to be killed in these cars, and several others injured because of a faulty electrical switch, which we’re told now that General Motors could have replaced for less than $1 per unit. I’ve seen figures as low as 57 cents – some say 90 cents. But for less than $1 per unit, these parts could have been replaced.
Now, many years ago in 2002, the company that actually made this electrical switch – Delphi Automotive – told General Motors engineers and other representatives that the part was defective and did not work property in General Motors vehicles and should be replaced and that they could replace it for 90 cents per vehicle.
General Motors said no because they wanted to wait until the cost came down. So, 10 years go by and 13 people were killed in these vehicles. When that electrical switch fails, it shuts down the brakes, the power steering, airbags and other electrical systems.
Now these are General Motors cheaper-model cars – cars that you normally give to your teenage children when they graduate from high school or have a birthday, so many of these dead people are people’s kids. How do you replace someone’s 16 year old daughter or son?
One of them was a marine – how do you replace his life?
Well, the answer is YOU DON’T.
Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, for the last couple of days has been testifying before the House of Representatives and before the Senate as they grilled her about what happened.
Now keep in mind that Congress was pumping tens of millions of dollars into this company the whole time this was going on because it was bleeding red ink as it made cars that no one wanted to buy. But the government saved them.
In the meantime, they’ve known for over 10 years that this was happening.
Now, if you or I went out and killed 13 people, then we’d be charged with mass murder. But when General Motors does it, well it’s just them doing business – it’s the cost of business. So, we’ll see what Congress does with it.
If Congress fines General Motors, I’m not impressed. I don’t care if Congress tells GM they have to put a few billion dollars into some rat hole or bureaucratic project. What I’m concerned about are the people that this company killed and injured. Who compensates them? Who pays these people for the loss of their children and their loved ones? And the answer to that has got to be GM themselves. There’s got to be compensation and there has to be punitive damages.
That’s what punitive damages mean – punishment. It means the company should be punished for what it did. It should be punished so that it knows it should never do this again, and furthermore, a message is sent to other corporations here “just doing business” to never do something like that themselves.
What is a fair punishes damages? Well, how about everything? Everything this company has made – every dollar it’s made from selling those cars for the last 10 years at least – that would be proper.
Why should this company be allowed to make money? To make profit from killing people? Isn’t that a good question? That’s a fair question.
So, if any money in profit is left – and I understand there’s about 5 billion dollars – that’s just what I’ve heard and I don’t know for sure, that’s just the figure that I’ve heard. But maybe that would be a good punitive start for these people who have lost loved ones – at least that’s the way I see it, folks.