Goodyear Tire Co. Caught Committing Fraud

Tires - The Cooper Firm

Goodyear Tire Co. Caught Committing Fraud

Lying and concealing the truth never puts anyone in a good place. It certainly put Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in a very uncomfortable position.

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was found deliberately obfuscating discovery for several different cases. David K. Kultz, a Scottsdale attorney, filed a lawsuit against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and is seeking punitive damages for five years of delay and deception in a product liability action which involved the G159 tire.

The G159 tire was developed by Goodyear for urban delivery vehicles but sold to the recreational vehicle market. The tire was completely unsuitable for this kind of use and in turn caused several injuries and deaths as a result.

Kultz represented the Haeger family who in 2003, were driving in their Spartan Gulf Stream Coach when the front right tire failed causing the vehicle to roll over. The accident seriously injured Leroy and Donna Haeger as well as their passengers Barry and Suzanne Haeger. Kultz filed a claim against Goodyear alleging that the G159 was defective, and prone to tread separations from excessive heat and highway use. During the discovery process Kultz requested all of the G159 testing which included, “road test, wheel test, durability test,” but the only thing that Goodyear gave them was a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration compliance test. Seven months later, they produced a high-speed test and said that no other tests could be found. Kultz, as a result, settled the case.

Then the surprise came. In a case in 2010, the Schalmo family was awarded $5.6 million after documents were presented that showed internal heat and speed test and failure rate data. The data proved that the G159 was unsuitable and defective for motorhome use. The next year Kurtz filed a motion alleging discovery fraud. The Hon. Roslyn O. Silver, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, issued a sanctions order, finding that Goodyear and its legal team had defrauded the Court, and allowed expert witnesses to falsely testify. Judge Silver then awarded all the plaintiffs all the attorney fees and cost they incurred after Goodyear served its responses in November 2006, when definitive proof was found they had not cooperated with the system. To ice the cake, Judge Silver ordered Goodyear to file a copy of her Order in any G159 case initiated after November 2012.

Goodyear had purposely withheld testing results from the1990’s that showed that the tire would fail during prolonged highway use when they were marketing it to RV and motor coaches that do mostly highway driving. The scary fact is that Goodyear has or is defending about 40 other death and injury and 20 property-damage tread separation cases involving G159s on Class A claims.

When Judge Silver ordered Goodyear to produce among other things, all written and electronic communications, including attachments relating to the request or test data, proposed and final discovery responses from all G159 cases since January 1, 2000 a whole lot of other nastiness came out. Not only did they conceal the test in the Haeger case but they also did it in two other cases.

The sad fact is, if Goodyear would have been honest in the first place they would have saved a great deal more time, energy, and money that they spent in concealing the truth.

Source:, “The Wages of Fraud,” June 20, 2013.

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