GM Trying to Shield Liability in Crash Cases?

Jun 12, 2014 9:09am

Morning Money Memo…

Lawyers for a Georgia family trying to reopen a wrongful death lawsuit against General Motors say the company is trying to move the case to federal court so it can use bankruptcy as a shield from the claim.

The attorneys say GM’s move runs counter to a promise made by GM CEO Mary Barra to fairly compensate families of people killed or those injured in crashes caused by defective ignition switches.

The family of Brooke Melton sued GM after she was killed when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt crashed. Melton’s family settled but is trying to reopen the case, alleging that GM concealed evidence.

Company spokesman Greg Martin called the company’s legal filings procedural. GM is bracing for a long legal battle over its liability in dozens of crashes.

The Wall Street Journal reports “a tug of war has emerged over the data in black boxes” inside the cars known as “event data recorders.” GM reportedly wants to access information from the black boxes, which includes the car’s speed and brake position and whether the air bags were deployed.

General Motors has hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to come up with a method of compensating victims.

Starbucks Recharge

Soon you may not have to fumble or fight for a power outlet to charge your phone at your neighborhood Starbucks. Starbucks and Duracell say they are rolling out Powermat wireless charging devices in stores in San Francisco. The charging spots will expand into other major markets in 2015, and the companies plan to put the devices in all Starbucks and Teavana locations over time.

Amazon Stream

Amazon is launching a free music streaming service for its Prime members. The offer comes ahead of the expected unveiling of its first smartphone next week.

Starting today, Amazon is offering more than a million tracks for streaming and downloading to its Kindle Fire tablets, as well as on its Amazon Music app for Apple and Android devices. People who pay $99 a year for Prime can listen to the music for no extra cost.

Amazon reached licensing deals with most of the top independent labels and major recording companies Sony and Warner Music, but failed to reach a deal with top-ranked Universal Music Group. That means it will not include artists such as Jay-Z , Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Katy Perry. And the new services won’t have many new releases.

Boeing Makes Japanese Deals

Boeing has inked a deal for five Japanese companies to manufacture key components for its twin aisle 777X jets. The Japanese manufacturers will make about 21 percent of the plane’s structural components, including the fuselage sections and landing gear wells. The 777X is set for delivery in 2020.

Stocks Take a Break

The stock market took a breather after rising to fresh all-time-highs earlier this week. The S & P 500 and Dow both closed down about a half a percentage point Wednesday. Futures rose slightly this morning. A government report on May retail sales this morning could be a market mover.

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