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Product Liability:
Kenneth Lee Baker, et al. v. General Motors Corp.

Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
Subjects: Jury Instruction; Product Safety and Liability; Punitive Damages; Testimony

Argued: Oct. 15, 1997

Decided: Jan. 13, 1998
Vote: 9-0
At Issue: Whether a federal court in Missouri, obligated to give full faith and credit to state court judgments, may compel a former autoworker to testify in a product liability case, despite a decree from a Michigan state court preventing the employee from testifying against the company in such lawsuits.

Decision: In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled that a court ruling in one state cannot keep a witness from testifying in a separate lawsuit on the same issue in another state.

Read the full text of the Baker v. General Motors Corp. decision at the Findlaw Internet Legal Resources Web site. In addition, the 1996 lower court decision is available there, as well as the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Listen to the Baker v. General Motors Corp. oral argument in RealAudio at the Oyez Oyez Oyez Web site.

Background from The Post
Courts Cannot Bar Testimony In Other States (Jan. 14, 1998)

Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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