Call to Extend Compensation Deadline | News | HMG LLP

Victim 1: Connecticut Woman’s ‘Hidden’ Death Spurs Call To Extend Compensation Fund Deadline

August 31, 2017

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, Nov. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bob Hilliard, the attorney for Jean Averill's family, a Connecticut woman whose 2003 death was covered up by GM and whose name was buried in a redacted footnote of the Valukas report, calls on GM and Ken Feinberg to extend the deadline for applying for compensation into the Feinberg fund by at least 12 months.

FIRST VICTIM OF THE ORIGINAL 13

"GM counted Jean Averill as the first victim in its list of 13 and knew of this death in January of 2004 and yet never told the family.

"Now, on the eve of the Fund shutting down the family learns by chance that GM was responsible for their mom's death?

"For 11 years the children of Jean Averill thought their mom died from a heart attack. The entire time, GM, as is its proven habit, covered up the truth.

"But for a investigative reporter from the New York Times, the Compensation Fund's deadline would have expired without the Averills even realizing they were eligible to receive compensation."

386 'CONFIDENTIAL GM DOCUMENTS' RELATING TO THE AVERILLS

GM has stamped 'confidential' at least 386 internal GM documents about my clients. I have called on GM to remove the 'confidential' designation so as to allow an open and transparent review of its 11-year cover up.

10 GENERATIONS ON THE SAME PROPERTY FOR THE LAST 269 YEARS

"7 months ago when Mary Barra appeared before congress she said GM was actively and aggressively reaching out to victims of this defect debacle through an pro-active campaign including social media. At that time GM knew Jean Averill was Victim 1. The 'ground zero' victim. The first Saturn Ion with an acknowledged defect that killed an innocent person. Still, GM kept the Averill family in the dark. Not one word. They made a decision to intentionally keep this information hidden, willing to allow the Averill family to be deceived and willing to prevent Jean Averill from resting in peace.

"The Averills have lived at the same address since 1746 when they purchased their land from Chief Waramaug. Ten generations of Averills have graced these northwestern Connecticut hills of Washington, Connecticut. Jean Averill was the matriarch of the family.

"Yet, GM could not find them to let them know this accident was caused by its defect?

"Literally, GM's level of deceit, continued cover-up, relentless dodging of responsibility and refusal to come clean strains the available adjectives of the English language."

HOW THEY LEARNED OF GM'S CONNECTION TO JEAN AVERILL'S DEATH

The Averill family only recently learned that Jean's fatal car accident in a 2003 Saturn Ion was the first incident linked to the faulty ignition switch and a non-deployment of airbags. For over a decade the family believed Jean, who was 66 years old at the time, suffered a stroke while driving which caused her to leave the road and hit a tree head-on. GM's insurance company ESIS denied the family's claim for damages in 2004 and has not reached out to the family since that time.

GOOD CAUSE SHOWN

Mr. Hilliard has called on Ken Feinberg to extend the deadline for claims to be filed in the GM Compensation Fund.

"Mr. Feinberg should allow the Compensation Fund to remain open past the December 31st deadline, if a victim or the victim's family only recently discovers GM's involvement.

"Surely, if there is good cause shown, that is, if the family of a victim learns of the defect and its connection to an accident, and they learn of it after the deadline to file, Mr. Feinberg would allow them to fully participate in the fund."

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