Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has a long history of frustrating families and victims of their products. From silent recalls to a litigation tactic designed to prevent victims and their lawyers from communicating and sharing information, Goodyear has developed a sophisticated process designed to delay accountability and further punish its consumers injured by its tires.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down an opinion yesterday that goes a long way toward curbing that behavior. From now on, in every case, Goodyear must announce to all involved that it - and its lawyers - committed fraud in hiding damning documents in a previous case, one arising out of a serious crash that occurred here in Arizona in 2003.
In that case, the injured family requested -- over and over -- all testing done on the tire at issue. Goodyear, it turns out, lied and denied the existence of tests. Well, after the family settled its case with Goodyear, the family's lawyer discovered the very tests he was so diligently trying to get. The test results were devastating to Goodyear's arguments in the case they successfully settled with the family. So the lawyer went back to court seeking justice.
It came this week in the form of a Court of Appeals decision that sanctions Goodyear by requiring it to disclose to all future litigants that it and its attorneys engaged in fraud by hiding important, relevant tests that showed problems in its tires. The court also levied a $2.7 million fine against the company.
You can read the decision here.