Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will no longer owe $2.7 million in damages for its alleged misconduct following a product liability lawsuit from two couples injured in a motor home accident.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided to reverse the $2.74 million in damages against the tiremaker and the two attorneys who represented the company.
The original case started in 2003 when two couples were injured after their motor home swerved and flipped over on an Arizona highway. In 2005 the couples sued Goodyear, claiming the accident was caused by a faulty original equipment Goodyear G159 tire on the motor home. The couple alleged in the lawsuit that the tire shouldn’t have been mounted on the motor home.
Goodyear settled in April 2010, but the tiremaker and its attorneys were sued again in November 2012 with the couples’ lawyer claiming Goodyear withheld relevant evidence of tests that showed the G159 tire became abnormally hot at 55 to 65 mph.
An Arizona federal district court judge then ordered Goodyear and its attorneys to pay $2.74 million in attorney fees and court costs to the couples. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court decision in July 2015.
One of Goodyear’s attorneys then appealed to the Supreme Court, which reversed the damages decision on April 18, finding that the two lower courts should not have ordered Goodyear to pay legal fees other than those that were specifically from the tiremaker’s alleged misconduct.
“A sanctioning court must determine which fees were incurred because of, and solely because of, the misconduct at issue, and no such finding lies behind the $2.7 million award made and affirmed below,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote.
Justice Neil Gorsuch was not involved in the Supreme Court’s ruling.