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Ralph Nader got a particularly welcome donation from big business yesterday.
Nader's invasion of privacy suit against General Motors was settied out of court yesterday for $425,000.
The suit was filed more than three years ago. Nader charged that GM had sent private detectives to spy on his private life after the publication of his book Unsafe at Any Speed, which proved to most people's satisfaction that GM's compact Corvairs were worse than unsafe.
Nader said the suit was for -2 million, but General Motors claimed it would cost them $26.2 million.
Nader said the money would be used to set up a "continuous legal monitoring of General Motor's activities in the safety, pollution and consumer relations area."
Nader was an originator of a Campaign to Make GM Responsible this spring. The Campaign attempted to persuade universities and other institutions to vote for consumer representatives on GM's Board of Directors.
Despite recommendations from students, faculty, and alumni that Harvard side with the Campaing, the Corporation decided to back the GM Corporation in the fight.
Nader's suit charged that GM detectives questioned his neighbors and associates about his personal habits. The suit was tied up by legal appeals for the past three years, and never received a hearing.
An additional $7 million punitive damages suit was filed but later dropped.
Nader's attorney said in a statement that the $425,000 settlement was "by far the largest amount ever paid as damages for invasion of privacy or in any similar type case."
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