Opponents of GM plan move to block deal

Two groups opposing the sale of General Motors Corp.’s assets to create a new company have asked a judge to have their appeals bypass the U.S. District Court and go directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

If that does not happen, one of the groups — the Ad Hoc Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants — has asked the court to temporarily halt the deal.

“In the event this Court does not certify the appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals, this Court should stay the sale order until the District Court has an opportunity to hear the appeals," the asbestos group said in court filings.

The asbestos group said it and tort claimants will “suffer irreparable harm absent a stay … because the closing of the sale may well moot the issues for appeal."

Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber, who approved the deal late Sunday, has set a hearing for 7 tonight on the issue.

Another group of opponents to GM’s plan, called the Individual Accident Litigants, has filed notice of appeal but their lawyer has said they won’t file a motion for stay.

The group also has filed a request that their case be immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson has said he expects objectors to exhaust their appeals process by later this week and for the new GM to emerge soon afterward.

The asbestos group, however, said in its court filing that the closing of the new GM could take much longer and that GM would suffer no harm from a stay.

“Because this is a complex transaction requiring numerous governmental approvals, closing is not expected to occur earlier than 30 days from the date of the sale order," the asbestos group said. “In fact, by the terms of the Master Purchase and Sale Agreement, closing may be extended … until September 15."

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