Phoenix, Arizona – Goodyear must pay an Arizona family more than $2.7 million (€2.46 million) in damages and also tell plaintiffs in future cases how a federal judge found the tire maker had acted in bad faith.
This was the determination of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 20 July, in Goodyear's appeal of a product liability case first filed in an Arizona federal court in 2005.
The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Goodyear acted in bad faith, or in awarding both monetary and non-monetary damages, wrote Ninth Circuit Judge Milan Smith Jr. in the majority opinion.
“The district court's imposition of non-monetary sanctions against Goodyear was balanced, narrowly tailored and imposed no sanctions beyond what was necessary to remedy what the district court perceived as an ongoing problem in Goodyear's litigation,” Smith wrote.
Judge Paul Watford dissented. He agreed with the majority on the allegations of misconduct against Goodyear, but would have vacated the monetary damages.
“The record did not establish a causal connection between the lawyer's misconduct and the jury's inability to reach a verdict,” Watford wrote in his dissent. “The record in this case is similarly devoid of evidence establishing a causal link between Goodyear's misconduct and the fees awarded.”
The genesis of the case was a 2003 accident involving the failure of a Goodyear G159 original equipment tire mounted on a Gulf Stream motor home. Leroy Haeger, his wife Donna, and children Barry and Suzanne were injured in the crash.