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Judge in pickup truck suit says GM may have shredded papers

Published Oct. 6, 2005

A federal judge in Columbia, S.C., says General Motors may have shredded documents relating to the danger of its pickup truck fuel tanks, but an attorney for two brothers suing the automaker said Thursday he thinks documents still exist that could prove GM knew the dangers.

In an opinion released this week, U.S. District Judge G. Ross Anderson said it was likely GM lawyers destroyed documents relating to fuel tanks in 1973-1987 pickups.

Anderson found "a substantial likelihood that perhaps perjury and the systematic destruction of documents involving gross misconduct by (GM lawyers) occurred" in the early 1980s.

The judge commented in a 59-page opinion in which he withdrew from the lawsuit by brothers Mark and Steven Cameron, who were severely burned in the May 1990 crash of a Chevrolet pickup.

GM spokesman Ed Lechtzin said the automaker strongly disagreed with Anderson's remarks.

CHRYSLER MAY EXPAND. Chrysler Corp. said Thursday it might expand production by more than a third and add as many as 6,000 jobs as it tries to meet demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Ram pickup truck and other vehicles. If the automaker gets agreements it wants from labor, governments and suppliers, it would spend $1.8-billion to increase production to 3.5-million vehicles annually worldwide by 1996.

STATE RESTAURANTS SET RECORD. Florida's restaurant industry did record business last year, posting $12.3-billion in sales despite a slowdown in the last four months, the Florida Restaurant Association announced Thursday. The number of new restaurants fell in 1993 by 1.4 percent, and Florida has 6 percent fewer restaurants than it did in 1990, the association said.