A county court in southern Texas has ordered Goodyear to pay $36.9 million to the estate and family of a man killed in a rollover accident, although the Kelly tire involved in the crash was old and had several repairs.
Paul Rios Jr. was riding in a friend's Mazda pickup truck near Freer, Texas, in April 2001 when a Kelly Safari AWX tire on the vehicle allegedly came apart, causing the vehicle to roll over. Mr. Rios, who was not wearing a seat belt, died a month later in a Corpus Christi, Texas, hospital of injuries suffered in the crash.
Attorneys for the Rios family claimed Goodyear knowingly sold a defective tire. They alleged that a rubber compound in the Kelly tires did not adhere properly to the brass coating of the steel belt, and that Goodyear provided insufficient warning to the public about this defect.
Goodyear's lawyer, Michael Meyers, argued that the Kelly tire in the accident was 9 years old and had four visible repairs.
The last repair was done, improperly, by the owner of a Quick Lube franchise in Hebbronville, Texas, which then sold the tire to the truck's owner three days before the accident, Mr. Meyers added.
The jury in the Duval County District Court found for the Rios family April 29, awarding $14 million to Paul Rios Jr.'s estate; $8 million to his widow; $4 million to each of his three daughters; $2.5 million to his father; and $400,000 in medical expenses.
In a prepared statement, Goodyear said it would appeal the ruling. ``This tire should never have been returned to service, and anyone in the tire business would not have put that tire on that vehicle,'' the tire maker said.
Attorneys for the Rios family could not be reached for comment.