United States v. General Motors (X-Car Lockup)

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.


United States Court of Appeals,

District of Columbia Circuit.




Nos. 87-5170, 87-5235.

Argued Oct. 6, 1987.

Decided March 8, 1988.

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Happily, two decisions of this court have furnished that pivotal term with more specific content. See United States v. General Motors Corp., ("Wheels "); United States v. General Motors Corp., cert. denied 434 U.S. 1033, 98 S.Ct. 765, 54 L.Ed.2d 780 (1978) ("Pitman Arms "). 561 F.2d 923 (D.C.Cir.1977) 518 F.2d 420 (D.C.Cir.1975)

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Where, as here, the Government’s case is built on circumstantial evidence of performance failure, we are confronted with a starkly different situation from the scenarios in either Wheels or Pitman Arms. There, the record abounded with broken wheels and failed pitman arms. Both represented tell-tale, eloquent manifestations of a defect.

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CORPORATION. (Two Cases) of America, Appellant,