Does the Sale of Defective Tires Constitute a “Trade Secret”?
An Arizona appeals court reversed a decision that forced Goodyear to produce documents that indicated that it had intentionally sold defective tires. The Circuit Court judge, after hearing evidence related to the cover-up, demanded that Goodyear turn over those documents. The lawsuit was filed by Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy group.
When forcing a disclosure, the defendant is required to provide adequate cause to protect the documents from disclosure. In this case, the trial court judge ruled that the Goodyear had not demonstrated good enough cause, but the appellate court ruled that the original judge had applied the wrong standard.
Lawsuit Stems from G159 Tires
If you’ve paid any attention to our blog over the past few months, you’ve likely noticed that several of our articles concern the Goodyear G159 line. These tires were originally developed for urban delivery vehicles but then repackaged and marketed for recreational vehicles and motorhomes. However, motorhomes tend to spend more time on highways and have to sustain high speeds for prolonged periods of time. For that reason, the G159 had a very high failure rate and several wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits have been filed against the company over the past 20 years.
Now, attorneys are trying to figure out what Goodyear knew and when they knew it. Several attorneys have alleged that Goodyear knew that their G159 tires were unnecessarily dangerous and that there is a paper trail indicating as much. The question then becomes: What did Goodyear know and when did they know it?
In terms of lawsuits, there have certainly been enough filed against Goodyear that they later lost indicating that Goodyear knew that these tires posed an unnecessary risk to RV drivers, but throughout the process, Goodyear has maintained that their tires are safe.
This is one of the rare lawsuits in which plaintiffs allege that the tire was designed defectively for the purpose of use on motorhomes. Typical lawsuits against tire manufacturers allege that some manufacturing defect caused the failure.
A Protective Order Against Disclosure
A determination has yet to be made on what Goodyear knew and when they knew it. Since several deaths have resulted from G159 tire failure, the prospect that Goodyear knew that the tires were defective and proceeded to bury that information is legally important. If plaintiffs can show that there was a cover-up, they may be able to sue for punitive damages. Meanwhile, supposed watchdogs like the NHTSA claim that they are conducting investigations into the tires, but despite the numerous deaths, there have been no blanket recalls or sanctions against the company.
Talk to a Defective Tire Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a defective tire accident, talk to the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert. We can help you recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost time from work, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation.