From our private database of 34,000+ case briefs...
Baker v. General Motors Corporation
United States Supreme Court
522 U.S. 222, 118 S.Ct. 657, 139 L.Ed.2d 580 (1998)
Ronald Elwell, a General Motors Corporation (GM) (defendant) engineering analyst, worked for GM for thirty years. During this time, he studied the safety of GM vehicles and would on occasion testify on GM’s behalf as an in-house expert witness in product-liability actions. In 1991, after leaving GM’s employ and during a deposition taken by a plaintiff in a products-liability case, Elwell gave testimony that was markedly different from that which he gave while he was an in-house expert. This testimony suggested that GM’s fuel system was inferior to other comparable automobiles. Shortly thereafter, Elwell initiated a wrongful-discharge suit against GM in Michigan county court. GM counterclaimed and filed a motion for a preliminary injunction preventing Elwell from consulting or discussing confidential information relating to GM that Elwell learned during his employment. The following year, GM and Elwell entered into a settlement, stipulating the injunction would be permanent, but that if Elwell was compelled by a tribunal to testify, he would not be liable for a violation of their settlement agreement. In 1991, Beverly Garner was killed in a Missouri highway accident when the GM automobile in which she was a passenger caught fire. Garner’s sons, Kenneth and Steven Baker, initiated a wrongful-death action in Missouri state court. The matter was then removed to federal court. The Bakers sought to subpoena Elwell. GM objected, and the court allowed the Bakers to subpoena Elwell, finding that (1) blocking Elwell’s testimony would violate Missouri’s public policy, and (2) that the injunction could be modified both in Michigan and in any other state. As a result of this testimony, the Bakers received $11.3 million in damages. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit reversed, finding that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution required the trial court to uphold the injunction. The Bakers appealed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)
Concurrence (Kennedy, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 607,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 607,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 34,000 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.