A federal court of appeals for the 9th circuit has upheld a 2012 order imposing $2.7 million in sanctions against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and two of its lawyers. The court also upheld non-monetary sanctions against the tiremaker.
In a 2-1 ruling the court found that the sanctions given to Goodyear and its two lawyers were lawful and appropriate given the district courts conclusion that the parties participated in a “years-long course of misconduct,” in the initial lawsuit. Monetary sanctions were awarded to plaintiffs in the first case. Non-monetary sanctions imposed require Goodyear to disclose in all future lawsuits related to the G159 tire its deceit in the case.
A spokesman for Goodyear told Tire Review, “We are disappointed with the decision and are considering our options.”
The initial case, Haeger v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., involved a Tucson, Ariz., couple who were injured when the Goodyear G159 front tire on their motor home failed at highway speeds causing the vehicle to overturn. In their case, filed in 2005, the couple claimed that the G159 tire could fail after prolonged heat even when properly inflated and could prematurely fail due to such heat degradation when used on motor homes. An attorney for the couple demanded Goodyear provide all information it had on testing the G159 model of tire.
According to court documents, Goodyear had performed testing on the G159 tire prior to sale, but when asked for its test results on the G159 tires, Goodyear and its attorneys “failed to search for, and/or withheld the relevant and responsive G159 testing documents.”
The couple eventually settled outside of court with Goodyear in 2010. Later it was discovered that Goodyear in fact had internal heat and speed tests on the G159 tire, and the tiremaker “had withheld evidence it was required to produce during discovery,” according to court documents.
The couple later filed for sanctions against Goodyear in 2011. The court imposed sanctions against Goodyear and its lawyer’s that lead to the recent appeal in the federal district court.