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Opponents of GM sale face noon deadline

  Business  -   POSTED: 2009/07/10 16:59

Opponents of General Motors Corp.'s plan to sell the bulk of itself to a new government-controlled company face a noon deadline to file appeals and find a way to get the sale halted.

But with their options dwindling and time running out, it's increasingly likely that U.S. Judge Robert Gerber's order approving the sale will go through at noon Eastern, paving the way for the automaker's speedy exit from Chapter 11.

GM's lawyers are working to get documents ready to close the sale quickly if the deadline passes and the sale is legally allowed to go through.

"We'll do it as quickly as possible," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said Thursday morning.

The sale is the centerpiece of Detroit-based GM's government-endorsed plan to emerge from court oversight. Once it becomes final, the automaker will be largely free to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Gerber issued a ruling approving the sale late Sunday, but gave its objectors a four-day window to file appeals. The ruling followed a three-day hearing the week before during which attorneys for several groups including argued against its approval.

Some of the most vocal objectors included groups of people with product-related claims against the automaker. Under the current sale plan, liability for claims related to incidents that occurred before GM's bankruptcy filing won't carry over to "new GM."

That means that those people who claim they were injured as a result of a defective GM product before June 1 will be forced to seek compensation from "old GM," the collection of assets and liabilities leftover from the sale, where they will have to fight with the company's other creditors for a share of what's left.

One of the product liability groups filed papers to appeal Gerber's ruling and asked that the appeal be sent directly to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals for action.


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