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California Judge Criticizes GM’s Cruise, Compares Behavior to TV Character

by Anna

In a recent hearing, General Motors’ Cruise, the robotaxi service, faced severe criticism from California Administrative Law Judge Robert Mason III, drawing a comparison to the deceptive TV character Eddie Haskell. The hearing centered around a proposed settlement related to an incident that led to the suspension of Cruise’s California license.

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The incident occurred when a Cruise robotaxi named “Panini” was involved in a collision with a pedestrian in San Francisco, dragging the person for 20 feet at approximately seven miles per hour. The California Public Utilities Commission accused Cruise of attempting to conceal the details of the incident for over two weeks, potentially facing a fine of $1.5 million.

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A new management team, installed by General Motors following the incident, admitted to not fully informing regulators about Panini’s actions. During the hearing, Judge Mason expressed frustration with Cruise’s mixed messaging, likening the situation to the character Eddie Haskell from the TV series “Leave It To Beaver.”

Craig Glidden, Cruise’s president and chief administrative officer, assured the judge that the company acknowledges its mistake and proposed settling the case for $75,000. However, when Judge Mason suggested a higher settlement amount of $112,500, Glidden promptly agreed. Glidden emphasized Cruise’s commitment to moving forward but noted potential repercussions from ongoing investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Despite the proposed settlement, Judge Mason indicated a preference for continuing the case through the full hearing process, highlighting his concerns. The judge did not set a specific timeline for resolving the matter.

This hearing follows Cruise’s recent release of a detailed report addressing the mishandling of the incident. The report criticized Cruise’s previous management for poor leadership and an adversarial relationship with regulators. Cruise has undergone significant changes, including the departure of former CEO Kyle Vogt and top executives, along with layoffs affecting one-fourth of its workforce, as part of GM’s strategic shift in its robotaxi service goals.

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