‘Vexatious Litigant’ Loses Old GM Appeal of Bankruptcy Judge’s Ruling

By Linda Sandler | May 27, 2014

A bankruptcy judge’s decision that a General Motors Co. customer failed to state a valid claim against the estate of so-called Old GM was upheld by a federal judge in Manhattan.

Such rulings don’t get overturned unless the court’s findings of fact are clearly wrong, U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield said in ending the appeal of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber’s decision. An Old GM trust had allowed the customer to pursue a 2009 personal injury lawsuit in Florida during the automaker’s bankruptcy, even though most suits were stopped, Schofield said.

The car owner asked Gerber to rule on his claim after the Florida court dismissed his suit last year, saying he was a “vexatious litigant,” according to a filing yesterday in U.S. Bankrupty Court in Manhattan.

In his suit, the customer demanded compensation from GM’s predecessor for “personal injury, conspiracy, fraud, gross negligence, strict liability, [and] punitive damages,” arising from an alleged defect in his previously owned Hummer H2 vehicle, according to the filing.

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