According to a story on Bloomberg.com, asbestos personal injury claimants say the current bankruptcy plan to sell GM’s best assets to a new company may be unconstitutional, if asbestos claimants are left out of the decision making process. GM had liability for over $600 million in legal claims related to asbestos in both 2007 and 2008. That amount is not expected to start declining for several years.
The Hill is reporting that both the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies will be structured to eliminate all future liability for injury claims related to vehicle defects. This would include physical injuries caused by defective vehicle parts, such as vehicle rollover claims, as well as injury caused by asbestos.
Victims with current claims are petitioning Congress to build in protections for the injured into the bankruptcy plans for these companies and filing petitions with the Supreme Court to delay the bankruptcies, which are currently on a fast track.
According to CNN, the Supreme Court issued a stay order on Monday in the Chrysler bankruptcy, preventing the sale of their most valuable assets to a new company, partially owned by Fiat. An Indiana state pension fund filed the request to delay approval of the bankruptcy because it felt it was not receiving fair treatment under the proposed plan.
EDIT: CNN is reporting that the Supreme Court approved the Chrysler bankruptcy plan and the Fiat/Chrysler partnership is going through, with Fiat obtaining a 20% stake in the new company, Chrysler Group LLC.