class-action verdict sees gm pay out over 100 million dollars

A verdict in a massive class-action lawsuit in California was this week levelled against General Motors, with a jury there deciding the American automaker owed US$102.6 million to owners of GM-made trucks and SUVs because it knew of yet didn’t disclose a serious engine defect with those vehicles that led to excessive oil consumption, reports BusinessWire.

Specifically, the fault lay in the company’s Vortec 5.3-liter V8 engine, installed in tens of thousands of trucks and SUVs roughly 10 years ago. The problem? Bad piston rings that led to excessive and irregular oil consumption which in turn could cause engine damage, stalling issues, or premature breakdowns.

The lawsuit was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and led by national plaintiffs’ trial firm DiCello Levitt on the behalf of owners and lessees of the impacted vehicles sold between 2011 and 2014 in California, North Carolina, and Idaho. That includes trucks like the Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado and GMC Sierra; and SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.

    The lawsuit – Raul Siqueiros, et al. v. General Motors LLC – was filed in 2016, and claimed that internal documents from GM show the company was in 2010 made aware of the defect in its generation-IV Vortec 5300 LC9 engine, but over the next four years made only poor, ineffective fixes to the problem while it continued the manufacture of new engines through to the end of the powerplant design’s life in 2014. Allegedly, the piston rings were essentially defective, allowing oil to get into parts of the engine it wasn’t supposed to, leading the engine to go through irregular amounts of oil.

    That verdict of US$102.6 million may not be all that much, relatively speaking, when you consider GM has a market cap of nearly US$50 billion. With the class action lawsuit representing 38,000 members, the amount works out to each claimant receiving US$2,700. Factor in time spent at the dealership and the hassle of an avoidable issue, and we’re sure some of those owners feel the compensation seems like a pittance. 

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