A number of lawsuits were filed as class actions against General Motors (GM) in state and federal courts across the United States involving "Dex-Cool" extended-life engine coolant. Among other things, the lawsuits alleged that Dex-Cool in certain vehicles caused problems with the vehicles' engines or cooling systems, and that certain engine components, such as the nylon/silicone lower intake manifold gaskets equipped in certain vehicles, were defective.
GM denied any wrongdoing but has agreed to a class action settlement of the lawsuits. The company argued that Dex-Cool protected engines for a longer period than traditional coolants, caused less wear on certain engine parts than traditional coolants, and provided environmental benefits. GM further argued that alleged problems with the vehicles' engines or cooling systems were caused by owners not following the maintenance instructions for their vehicles or other factors.
Gibbs explains that this settlement reflects five years of hard work on the part of the court and the lawyers. And of course, the outcome is that the money goes back into the pockets of countless people that had to get their cars fixed. GM will reimburse class members up to a specified amount for certain repair costs they paid during the first seven years or 150,000 miles of vehicle ownership or lease, whichever is earlier.
"Our goal was to provide some type of reimbursement so we have largely achieved our goal," says Gibbs. "The settlement reimburses people for repairs that they had to make on their vehicles. Most will recover about $400; others from $400-$800; while others will receive anywhere from $50-$100, depending upon how old their vehicle was at the time of repair."
Regarding the impact this settlement has on future defective products, Gibbs wonders if tort reform has eroded consumer rights to such a large degree that it will be unusual to see meaningful recoveries in consumer protection cases like the one we achieved in the Dex-Cool litigation.
"Although the claims period hasn't opened yet, people can check out our website".
We have posted information about the settlements and ultimately our site will link to a settlement website where people can file claims. At this point the California court has given preliminary approval to the settlement, a court in Missouri will consider preliminary approval on Friday and the courts will hear final approval in late August and early September.