Lawsuit Filed Against GM By Family of Man Who Died Inside his Corvette


Lawsuit Filed Against GM By Family of Man Who Died Inside his Corvette
Photo Credit: KBMT

Last weekend, my family and I stumbled onto the 1980s classic movie, Christine, about the old car that seemingly has a mind of its own and disposes of people who say bad things about it. That even included locking the doors on its own and refusing to unlock them to let her victims out.

That’s the first thing that popped into our mind this week when we heard that General Motors is facing a lawsuit from the children of the 72-year-old man who became locked in his C6 Corvette last year and succumbed to the heat when he couldn’t figure out how to open the electronic doors.

Unfortunately, the rookie Corvette owner apparently didn’t read the owner’s manual where it tells about the emergency handle right next to the driver’s seat that instantly pops open the door.

Problem solved.

We’re certainly sorry about the death of James Lee Rogers, but we’re not sure the locking mechanism is defective the way Troy Rogers and Tricia Hernandez claim in their lawsuit that was filed April 25.

Hundreds of thousands of C6 Corvettes were manufactured, and we haven’t heard of another instance where the door locks caused someone’s death.

Regardless, the suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court against General Motors LLC, et al, citing negligence. The plaintiffs claim that GM allegedly manufactured and distributed vehicles with the purportedly defective locking mechanism and failed to warn the public of its dangers.

If the gentleman had taken the time to read the owner’s manual, he would have known about the emergency handle. What else could GM have done?

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek exemplary damages, interest, all legal fees and any other relief as this court deems just. They are represented by B. Adam Terrell and Lindsey B. Whisenhant of Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell LLP in Beaumont, Texas.

In a previous article for Corvette Blogger right after the death of Mr. Rogers, we wrote the following and repeat it today, hoping the message will save someone else in a similar situation:

We would urge all C6 and C7 Corvette owners to become acquainted with this handle NOW. It could save their lives one day. I had to use it one day in my 2005 convertible when I locked the door without having my keys in my pocket, but fortunately I was in the basement of my house out of the heat and had time to read the owner’s manual and find the emergency handle.


A Texas Man and His Dog Die After Becoming Trapped in His 2007 Corvette
[VIDEO] TV Cameraman Gets Locked Inside a C6 Corvette and Calls 911
Dead Battery Traps Would-Be Thief Inside Corvette



  1. It is true an owner should read his owner’s manual, but unless I’m really looking for something for a problem of some sort, I rarely open it up, nor recall what I might have read years ago when the car was new. In addition, I have rented an Avis C7 3 times now, and no one pointed out any emergency way to open the driver’s door. The owner’s manual is in the back under one of the hatches, and it wasn’t until my second rental that I decided to look for it when I really couldn’t figure out on my own how to manage the navigation and infotainment system! So what should have been done in this particular case that should carry forward? EVERY dealership delivering a Corvette (or any car) should go over the car’s features with the owner until the owner is confident he/she can operate the car safely, and that includes any emergency door release!

  2. Always read the manual before you operate any vehicle you just purchased. If not, this can happen to you! And it’s nobody’s fault but yours if you don’t.

  3. I have a 2005 Corvette, and this happened to me too. I read my manual a long time ago, but when you are suddenly locked in your car in the heat and can’t get out, you might panic. I finally remembered the lever by my seat and was thankful when the door opened.

  4. Did the car lose power? Because no one mentions that he couldn’t roll down the windows. Did he leave the key fob in the restaurant with his phone? Not only did he not know about the manual door release, he forgot the roof comes off manually as well. What a shame, people buy vehicles and learn nothing about them except how to get from point A to point B

  5. When I bought my ’13 Vette, it was from an individual. I learned everything on my own with the help of the owners manual. A person should always read the manual. If your car doesn’t have one then order one.
    It’s not GMs fault for this guy’s negligence.

  6. If not the emergency handle the why not pop the top off, sounds to me like the man panicked and lost situational awareness.

  7. In America, few people take responsibilty for their actions. Rather, they choose to blame the results of their actions on someone else. Or….when they smell big money, they decide to cook up a lawsuit and sue the person or company who has deep pockets. Pitiful.

  8. I had a 2008 corvette which I sold to my mother at her request, it was her second C6. She managed to drain the battery down to just enough power to open the drivers door and nothing else! She had forgotten about the emergency release and was trapped in the garage. In the dim light and in a moderate panic the handle was not readily apparent to her! Luckily she had her cell phone and I was able to tell her where the handle was over the phone! I have a 2013 C6 now and have noticed they made a design change to the release handle, which is now more visible and easier to operate! I love the cars, but i don’t agree with an electronic button door release! It is a stupid design prone to failure and does not eliminate the need for a manual release! She also never thought of taking the top off, which is not an option on mine! I have kicked out a windshield from the drivers seat before (vw rabbit racing situation) which was an option for me but would not be for many! the handle works great if you are not freaking out and you remember it is there!

Comments are closed.