July 26, 1996
COURT CASE NO.:
Navarro v. General Motors, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No.: EC015454
Verdict/Judgment Date: 7/26, 1996
A Los Angeles jury awarded plaintiff Hugo Navarro and family one million, one hundred and eighty nine, six hundred and sixty one dollars ($1,189,661) from General Motors. Mr Navarro was a passenger in a 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was rear ended on the Hollywood Freeway by a Datsun pickup. The impact ruptured the gas tank and a horrific car fire ensued. Mr Navarro received third degree burns from the fire and was hospitalized. Plaintiffs contended that the fuel system was defectively and negligently designed. The jury agreed with the plaintiffs. Prior to trial General Motors offered only $50,000 to settle the case.
Full Story published in Los Angeles Daily Journal, “Verdicts & Settlements”, September 6, 1996, and in the Attorneys Information Exchange Litigation Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 4.
Note: General Motors unsuccessfully challenged the jury’s finding by filing an appeal with the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District for the State of California., see Appellate Case no.: B107604. Thereafter, General Motors unsuccessfully appealed the matter to the California Supreme Court. The Supreme denied General Motors Petition for Review on January 13, 1999. See Supreme Court case no.: SO74422. Gary C. Eto successfully handled all proceedings before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. This verdict is one of the very first and very few against General Motors for negligent design of a fuel system that was upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.