AKRON-If it is ever filed-and it's a big IF-a suit being considered by used-tire exporters against some new-tire manufacturers could shape up to be a big one. Howard J. Levy, president of Used Tire International Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., told TIRE BUSINESS he has engaged the services of attorneys in Miami and Philadelphia to explore the possibility of filing an antitrust lawsuit against Goodyear, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp.'s parent, Pirelli S.p.A., charging them with violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
He alleges that the three tire makers have met in collusion to determine how they could eliminate their competition in the used tire industry.
Mr. Levy said he would like to see the lawsuit attain class action status on behalf of all used tire exporters. It could emanate from the National Association of Used Tire Exporters (NAUTE), of which he is president, though he was vague on what other grounds the suit might explore or what it might accomplish.
Any such suit could very well never see the light of day, he admitted, because it would create a ``financial problem'' for NAUTE, which has very limited resources and probably would be unable to compete with the ``deep pockets'' of the new-tire manufacturers.
Ben Rallo, NAUTE vice president, who operates a used tire exportation business from New Jersey, was more pessimistic.
He acknowledged the lawsuit is ``going nowhere.'' To fight the major rubber companies ``is like rowing up a creek with a broken paddle. It's going to be very, very difficult.
``We just don't have the money to fight it. Even though we know we're right and we know what (the tire makers) have done (to restrain trade), we're hard-pressed for the proper attorneys...It's a long, long venture, and I don't think we'll be successful in the long run.''