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Nevada Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of $30 Million Verdict

The Nevada Supreme Court flattened Goodyear’s request to reconsider its ruling upholding a $30 million judgment against the tire company in a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit.

By a 6 to 1 margin, the state’s highest court upheld the award in a 2004 case in which a Goodyear tire blew out on a van, causing the deaths of four people, causing severe brain injuries to a teenager and injuries to six other passengers.

According to a report by Westlaw News and Insight, a tire on the Ford Econoline van blew out due to tread separation.

The plaintiffs, including injured passengers and families of crash victims, argued that the tire was defective and the van’s poor design made it unstable.

Ford Motor Co. settled with the plaintiffs for an undisclosed amount.

When a trial began in 2007, Goodyear was ruled to have violated the legal process of discovery through delay, improper delivery of relevant documents to the plaintiffs and failure to show for a deposition.

Because of the violation, the court threw out Goodyear’s argument that the tire had failed due to a road hazard rather than a design flaw.

Goodyear was only allowed to contest the amount of damages to be paid to the plaintiffs.

The jury assessed damages as follows:

  • $14 million to the three families of the people who died in the crash
  • $14 million to the teenager who sustained the brain injury
  • $2.1 million to the six remaining injured passengers

In July of last year, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s decision;  Goodyear requested a rehearing. In its latest ruling, the Nevada high court stated that Goodyear had not been denied due process and that the earlier rulings and awards of damages would stand.

Resource: Westlaw News and Insight: “Nevada high court rules 6-1 against Goodyear on $30 million verdict”: January 3, 2011

John P. Aldrich
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