Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Fights New Chrysler Effort To Dodge Product Liability For Defective Vehicles

May 27, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced that, in a formal objection filed with the bankruptcy court last week, and a further argument filed today, he is fighting New Chrysler's motion to escape product liability for Chrysler vehicles.

Blumenthal said a motion by Chrysler would leave countless consumers unprotected and unable to obtain fair compensation, including consumers severely injured because of defective vehicles.

Joining Blumenthal at a press conference today were Jeanne and Joseph Polio. Jeanne Polio is paralyzed from the chest down from a 2005 rollover crash in their 2000 Jeep Cherokee. The Polios are worried about the fate of their pending claim against Chrysler.

As one of the largest U.S. automakers, Chrysler has sold millions of vehicles to American consumers. Some of these consumers, including Connecticut residents, have been injured -- sometimes severely -- as a result of manufacturing defects and other legally culpable conduct by the company.

New Chrysler has only agreed to assume claims arising from sales beginning on the date New Chrysler takes over -- but seeks to escape responsibility for any pending and future claims related to defective vehicles sold before that date.

"New Chrysler is trying to take all Chrysler assets but leave injured consumers with fumes," Blumenthal said. "Its goal is to own substantially all Chrysler plants and products but evade accountability for its vehicle defects. This special unique shield against compensating consumers for injuries caused by its defective vehicles would be unconscionable. Chrysler must bear a legal responsibility matching its moral obligation - just like any manufacturer.

"Abandoning countless Chrysler consumers like the Polios compounds their tragedies and condemns their legitimate claims for justice.

"We may have won the battle to uphold Connecticut's lemon law, but we will continue the fight to protect consumers who have legitimate liability claims related to Chrysler vehicles."