General Motors will have the rest of 2016 off from bellwether trials after the automaker successfully settled outside of court with the final two plaintiffs.
According to Reuters, GM settled the first trial, which was scheduled for September 12, with plaintiff Stephanie Cockram. Cockram sued GM for injuries following her crash in a Chevrolet Cobalt. The second plaintiff, Amy Norville, was scheduled for trial later this year. Norville also sued GM following her crash in a Saturn Ion.
Cockram’s case would have been the fourth, and Norville’s the fifth of 2016.
“We have an agreement to settle the last two federal bellwether cases,” said company spokesman James Cain.
Cain went on to say the bellwether trials have been “extremely helpful” because they showed “juries care deeply about the cause and contributing factors of each accident and the merits of the claims.” As such, they are “holding plaintiffs to their burden of proof,” he said.
Bob Hilliard, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said the latest settlement “gives a clear indication that GM is interested in attempting resolution of both the federal and various state cases that they believe have merit.”
Several other cases will head into the year 2017 and it’s likely GM’s figure of $2 billion spent on settlements and fines could grow well into next year.