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From Products Liability Law Daily, September 26, 2014

First GM cases settle within the company’s compensation fund

By Joe Bichl

The families of Natasha Weigel and Amy Rademaker, the two girls who died after their 2005 Cobalt crashed, have agreed to accept the amount offered by GM’s Ken Feinberg, according to the Texas lawyer who represents the families. Feinberg is the administrator of the GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility program.

Amy Rademaker, age 15, and Natasha Weigel, age 18, died on October 24, 2006, in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, after their 2005 Cobalt left the road and crashed. The investigation showed that airbags failed to activate and the ignition switch was in a position where the air bags could not operate properly.

Bob Hilliard, the attorney representing the families, declined to say how much his clients settled for, but said that the offers were “within the realm of reasonableness.”

According GM’s compensation fund, for the individual death claims, the protocol lays out two compensation tracks: Track A, or the “Presumptive Compensation” track, relies on a combination of the decedent’s historical earnings and personal details with assumptions of likely future events based on publicly available national data; while Track B, or the “Complete Economic Analysis” track, involves a complete, comprehensive economic loss analysis of the decedent’s past, present, and assumed future income. For either track’s economic loss compensation calculation, however, each “eligible claimant” submitting a death claim also will receive uniform amounts for noneconomic losses in the following amounts: $1,000,000 for the death of the decedent, $300,000 for the surviving spouse, and $300,000 for each surviving dependent of the decedent.

Hilliard indicated in a press release that "Mr. Feinberg was thoughtful and caring when he met with these folks. He listened to them and talked with them about Amy and Natasha. The process was helpful and healing. He has now made his determination and my clients have accepted."

Hilliard currently represents 90 families of victims who were killed and over 1,300 individuals who were injured in the GM ignition switch recall.

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