PORTLAND, Ore.-The Oregon State Court of Appeals has overturned a lower-court ruling that had ordered Goodyear to pay Tualatin Tire & Auto Inc. more than $300,000 for alleged franchise fraud. The ruling is the latest in a five-year-old countersuit filed by Tualatin Tire, a former Goodyear franchise, after the tire maker sued it in 1989 for failing to pay rent and taxes.
A jury in Washington County Circuit Court originally found Goodyear liable on three counts of franchise fraud for misrepresenting details of its sublease with former Tualatin owner Marvin Kiehm, including failing to live up to a verbal agreement that the store's sublease would be identical to Goodyear's master lease.
That jury awarded Tualatin about $337,000 but also had it pay Goodyear $261,600 in back rent and taxes. Mr. Kiehm had said he had been placing the withheld rent into a trust fund until the lease could be straightened out.
The court said Tualatin still must pay the $261,600 plus interest to Goodyear.
Hart Harding, Goodyear's manager of franchise tire centers, said the ruling ``confirms that we do treat our customers fairly, and that our franchise program and relationship with our franchisees is open, honest and above the board.''