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GM Loses Bid For New Trial in Georgia Teen Death Case

April 15, 1993

ATLANTA (AP) _ General Motors Corp. lost its bid Thursday for a new trial in a case where a Georgia couple was awarded $105.2 million for the death of their son in a GMC pickup.

Judge A.L. Thompson, who presided over the negligence case earlier this year, rejected GM’s contention that the trial was riddled with procedural errors and upheld the damage award. Thompson also denied the automaker’s attempt to introduce testimony from new witnesses.

The parents of 17-year-old Shannon Moseley of Snellville said their son died because his 1985 GMC pickup exploded after a crash. The explosion, the lawsuit said, was caused by GM’s placement of the fuel tank on the side of the truck’s frame.

GM maintains that the teen-ager died from the impact of the crash, and that the design was not defective. The company had said two eyewitnesses, who were not available at the time of the trial, would have testified that Moseley was dead before the truck burst into flames.

Consumer advocates and the National Transportation Safety Board have urged the recall of 4.7 million trucks with that design estimated to still be on the road. The nation’s biggest automaker used that design from 1973-87.

Thompson did not give any reasons for denying the new trial motions.

GM said in a statement Thursday it was ″disappointed″ by the ruling and probably would appeal.

Bob Cheeley, an attorney for the Moseley family, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.