Goodyear facing major penalties for deceptive court practices in faulty tire cases
Posted on Friday, September 4th, 2015
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is facing severe legal punishment after engaging in deceptive legal practices and attempting to conceal evidence of a defect and the resulting damage for at least a decade. The company has been involved in dozens of lawsuits over tread separations and blow outs with their G-159 tires. Court records accuse the company of failure to accurately report every death and injury related to the tire to federal safety officials, despite the fact that the particular tire was the subject of over 40 lawsuits at one time.
One federal court judge ruled that Goodyear lawyers withheld evidence, misled courts, and sought to seal documents in an effort to keep the G-159 defect a secret. A few tenacious lawyers representing the victims in some of these lawsuits have finally been able to obtain certain information and shed a great deal of light on Goodyear’s legal tactics.
In one such case in which the Haeger family sought compensation after a blowout caused their recreational vehicle to wreck, court documents allege that Goodyear was aware of the G-159’s incompatibility with motor homes, yet “made no subsequent effort to warn users about the liability … made no effort to inform the government what Goodyear knew … and made no effort to otherwise recall the tire or provide any post-sale warning.” They go on to assert that the company adopted a strategy in which individual claims were dealt with one at a time and any critical or pertinent information revealed during those cases would be concealed, regardless of the fact that the information they sought to hide could have prevented future deaths and injuries due to tread separation on the G-159.
In her ruling on the Heager case, U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver of Arizona found Goodyear guilty of deception and “serious discovery misconduct,” and ordered the company to pay over $2.7 million in sanctions for fraud. Silver also ordered the company to include a copy of her ruling in every G-159 civil case nationwide. Though Goodyear is seeking appeals, a tribunal of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Silver’s decision.
Owners of motor homes that are not used frequently may still have defective tires if they have not been changed recently. If you own a motor home with G159 275/70 22.5 tires, it is in your best interest to replace them right away.