JACKSON, Miss. (Aug. 20, 2004) — A Mississippi federal district court judge granted summary judgment to three plaintiffs' attorneys who sought dismissal of a lawsuit brought against them by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
Cooper claimed the lawyers conspired to interfere with an agreement the Findlay, Ohio-based tire maker made with a former employee not to make negative statements about the tire maker without its permission. Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr., however, said the agreement was illegal on its face “because it allows for the real possibility of perpetrating and concealing a serious fraud upon a federal court.”
Bruce Kaster, one of the defendant attorneys, said of Judge Pepper's ruling: “In 30 years before the bar, I don't recall a court order this scathing….”
In a prepared statement, Cooper said Judge Pepper's decision “was based upon serious factual errors,” and noted that the company will consider all avenues of appeal. A spokeswoman further added that the tire maker cannot give any further comment on what some of those errors might be.