DiCello Levitt Wins $102.6M Verdict Against GM in Rare Auto Defect Class Action Trial.
In a rare automotive defect class action trial in 2022, DiCello Levitt, along with co-counsel, won a $102.6 million jury verdict against General Motors, the nation’s largest automobile manufacturer, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of tens of thousands of individuals who owned or leased certain GM products in three states between the years 2011 and 2014.
DiCello Levitt’s trial preparation included conducting 20 focus groups in the district where the case was tried, an exercise that enabled the team to formulate and crystallize a strategy that ultimately proved successful. We used GM’s own engineers and internal documents to show the jury that the company had been made aware, as early as 2010, of a defect in the engine’s piston rings that resulted in thousands of vehicles sustaining engine damage, stalling, and breaking down prematurely. Our evidence further showed that GM had made recommendations to dealers for addressing the piston issues, and had even implemented several ineffective engine design changes, for three years before finally discontinuing production of these unsafe vehicles.
After less than one full day of deliberations, we secured a verdict in favor of our clients, resulting in awards of $2,700 each for 38,000 class members, for a total judgment of $102.6 million.
This victory is another example of DiCello Levitt’s consistent track record in achieving justice for victims in wrongful tort class actions against large, well-funded corporations—as well as our proven ability to try complex cases to successful verdicts. The swift resolution and the high dollar figure of the final award will likely deter this and other manufacturers from developing and selling similarly defective products, potentially leading to increased consumer safety and stricter legislation in this sector.