LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 20, 2002)—A federal district judge in Little Rock will rule May 21 on whether Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. deliberately destroyed documents requested by plaintiffs' attorneys in a wrongful death case.
Judge George Howard Jr. struck testimony May 17 by former Cooper employee Cathy Jean Barnett about burning documents, but allowed testimony by current company employees Hogan Cooper and Sheila Hall about burning and shredding documents, said plaintiffs' attorney Bruce Kaster.
Mr. Kaster and other attorneys wanted the documents—which related to tire production at Cooper's Tupelo, Miss., facility between 1995 and 1998—in connection with a 1998 crash that killed four people and crippled two others. A Cooper Trendsetter tire allegedly lost its tread and caused the accident.
A Cooper spokeswoman declined comment.