CINCINNATI (Jan. 16, 2001) — Accusing Goodyear and its Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. subsidiary of conducting a "silent recall" of allegedly defective tires, a Cincinnati law firm has filed a class-action complaint in federal court.
Goodyear and Kelly are guilty of "unfair trade practices, breaches of express and implied warranties of merchantability and related claims," the complaint states.
According to the Jan. 12 suit, the companies´ load range E, load range D, light truck and RV tires tires have "an unreasonably dangerous propensity to experience a sudden and complete tread separation while operating at normal highway speeds, thereby causing serious and fatal accidents."
The companies´ failure to disclose the alleged defects have caused tire buyers to purchase "defective tires that they would not otherwise have purchased had they known of the defect, and have been or will be forced to repair or replace them at their own cost," the document stated.
"Goodyear and Kelly-Springfield knew or know that the defective tires were defectively designed, and (they) knew or know of a non-defective alternative design for the defective tires," it added. "Over the past several years, defendants have been engaged in a `silent recall´ of these tires, replacing the tires for those consumers who request it, but concealing their recall policy from the general public."
The suit asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to order Goodyear and Kelly to recall the tires, and also to order them to pay unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Potential members of the class-action are all owners of vehicles equipped with Goodyear and Kelly load range E tires or "who have paid to have the tires replaced," said Troy Skeens, an attorney with Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley, the firm which filed the complaint.
The issues in this case are similar to those in the class-action suits filed against Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. in relation to the Nashville, Tenn.-based company´s 6.5-million tire recall, except that BFS ordered a public recall, Mr. Skeens added.
Specific tire models named in the suit are Goodyear Wrangler AT, HT and RT/S; Goodyear Allseason Workhorse; Goodyear Marathon; Kelly-Springfield Power King; and Kelly-Springfield Trailbuster.
Late last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an investigation of Goodyear load range E tires, which according to the company have been tied to 15 deaths and 125 injuries.
There is a 90-day leadtime for class-action lawsuits in the Southern Ohio federal district, so the motion to certify the class action probably won´t be filed until late April, Mr. Skeens said.
A Goodyear spokesman declined comment on the suit, saying the company hasn´t yet seen a copy of the complaint.