The family of Raymundo Barrera sought $10 million from the Quincy, Ill.-based tire maker. Mr. Barrera, 33, was killed in October 2002 near Camargo, Mexico, when the Titan tractor tire he was attempting to inflate exploded in his face. He was thrown several feet and suffered massive internal injuries.
According to the lawsuit, Titan was negligent in not providing maintenance instructions for the tire in Spanish because it knew the tire could be sold and used in Mexico.
In an Aug. 27 verdict, however, the jury before the 138th Texas District Court found unanimously that Mr. Barrera was solely responsible for the accident.
The suit was brought in Brownsville partly because Mr. Barrera-though a Mexican citizen-has immediate family members who are U.S. citizens and partly because Brownsville still is officially Titan's primary place of business in Texas.
Titan declared a four-month shutdown at its 1-million-sq.-ft. Brownsville facility in May 2003, citing a soft economy and Chinese competition, then extended the shutdown indefinitely two months later.
The company decided in July 2003 to move all tire production to its Des Moines, Iowa, plant until demand increased sufficiently to reopen the Brownsville site.
A Titan spokeswoman declined comment on the Barrera case because the plaintiffs are likely to appeal. Michael Cowen, the Barreras' attorney, could not be reached for comment.
Titan reported net profits of $5.28 million on sales of $167 million for the first quarter of 2004. This represented its best quarterly profits showing since 1998.
The company has not reported an annual profit since 2000, when its earnings totaled $4.5 million.