Over the next few weeks, we would like to bring you the stories of GM's victims. They range from teenagers to grandmothers, and each story is as unique and heartbreaking as the next. Through understanding the story of each victim, we will have a clearer picture of the scope of GM's cover up. We will start with Shara Lynn Towne. She was a 37 year old mother of five. In July 2004 Shara was driving in California from Visalia to Fresno, which is about an hour south by highway. At 1:12 a.m., Shara's 2004 Saturn Ion jumped a curb, plowed into a parking lot, and collided head on with a utility pole. Shara died immediately upon impact. Shara was alone in the car, was wearing her seatbelt, and the airbags did not deploy. There were no witnesses to shed light on the cause of the accident. Initially, investigators suspected inappropriate speed as the reason behind the crash, which may have caused her to lose control of the vehicle. Drugs and alcohol were never suspected.
In March 2006, Shara's family brought suit against GM, the dealership, and two of GM's parts suppliers. GM chose to confidentially settle out of court in 2007, and the case was dismissed. The family's attorney Brian Chase said, "GM knew of this defect back then, and yet made a decision to quietly settle out of court so there would be no media or government attention." At the time of the settlement, the Saturn Ion had been on the market for five years. This means that the defect posed a potentially fatal hazard for five years before the public got its first clue that a defect might exist, however, it was quickly covered up by GM's confidential settlement. Shara is the first suspected victim in long line of many in this cover up. Shara's son Arron Burdge says, "my mother was a light switch in any dark room. She was radiant and beautiful, full of life and laughter."
Personal injury lawyers across the country were the first to discover this cover up, and they fought ceaselessly to expose it and raise awareness to prevent more fatalities from air bag that failed to deploy. At CSCS, we
are not afraid to take on big auto manufactures to expose hazardous defects. In one of our most recent cases, Partner Allan Siegel fought successfully to win just compensation for a family injured by a defective tire that caused a catastrophic accident. We know the intricacies involved in complex auto defect and tire defect litigation, and we know the likely defenses that these big companies will attempt to bring. We believe that one of our jobs in the field of personal injury law is to help expose these defects, and to help those harmed by such defects to win just compensation.