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Attorney Eric Gibbs: Dex-cool Case an Example of our Philosophy

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San Francisco, CA"We've focused on a fairly diverse type of case load that involves product liability, securities, consumer fraud, individual and institutional investors and antitrust cases," says Co-Counsel Eric Gibbs, from the firm Girard Gibbs in San Francisco. And one case is a factory equipped engine coolant called Dex-Cool.

Owners of certain GM Vehicles should put the pedal to the metal if they want to be compensated for problems connected to Dex-Cool. GM recently agreed to settle a national class action suit and compensate vehicle owners and lessees for Dex-coolant related repairs.

Attorney Gibbs says vehicle owners have until October 27, 2008 to submit a claim form, and "at the end of the day GM will pay somewhere between $40 and $60 million to resolve this entire case."

"Most people experienced leaking gaskets, meaning the coolant would leak out of the engine and onto the ground," says Gibbs. "A small percentage of people may have had an internal engine leak which would have caused the need for more extensive repairs. That's why there is a provision in the settlement to compensate those people at a greater level."

Under the terms of the settlement reached earlier this year, current and former owners of certain 1995-2004 GM vehicles with proof of ownership and repairs are eligible to receive up to $400 for Dex-cool-related mechanical problems that occurred within the first 7 years or 150 thousand miles, whichever came first. The repairs include intake manifold gasket replacements, cooling system flushes and heater core repairs. GM has admitted no liability in the case.

The Dex-cool case began in 2003, when a person who was having problems with their GM vehicle contacted the Girard Gibbs firm. "We began investigating the case and found a number of other people who were experiencing the same problems," says Gibbs. "Ultimately we found that the case had merit."

Around the same time, a number of other suits were being filed over the same issue in about half a dozen other states. "We were able to work with the other lawyers and co-ordinate the cases," says Gibbs. "And no, it was not easy."

Since the firm was established n 1995, it has recovered hundreds of millions of
dollars for clients including the largest cash settlement ever of a case brought on behalf of credit card holders for unfair marketing and billing practices (Providian Credit Card Litigation).

Recently, Girard Gibbs has received a lot of calls from people with securities related issues. "That has increased quite a bit just in the last 30 days, so we may see an increase in representing folks who find themselves in a bad position because something that has happened with their investments," says Gibbs.

Gibbs believes the class action process is an effective way for people to make their way into court and get a meaningful resolution to their dispute. "The Dex-cool case is an example of that," says Gibbs. "These are automobile repairs that the average person would pay around $600. That is a lot of money for the average person. Using the class device we are able to accomplish something that will put hundreds of dollars back into those people's pockets."

"We try to select meritorious cases that we think will have meaning for the folks we represent and that's our philosophy," ads Gibbs.

Eric Gibbs earned his J.D., Seattle University School of Law (1995) and his B.A. at San Francisco State University (1992). He is a member of the American Bar Association, The Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

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