Two and a half years ago, Stephen Mares’s 1998 Dodge Caravan caught on fire after the minivan’s fuel system leaked, trapping him and his two children. After he survived, he sued Chrysler seeking punitive damages for his and his children’s burns. However, he soon found that Chrysler is immune from new punitive-damage claims from any defective products sold before the auto maker’s 2009 government-brokered restructuring. This legal exemption, approved by a bankruptcy judge, is a rule that’s included in the federal bankruptcy law.
Unfortunately, he was not able to receive any money to compensate him and his children for their pain, suffering or medical bills. Chrysler has received a “get out of jail free card” and is escaping all penalties and damages they caused others prior to the restructuring.