By Miles Moore, Senior Washington reporter
PHOENIX (July 31, 2015) — Goodyear must pay an Arizona family more than $2.74 million in damages and also tell plaintiffs in future cases how a federal judge found the tire maker had acted in bad faith in the case.
This was the determination of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit July 20, in Goodyear's appeal of a product liability case first filed in an Arizona federal court in 2005.
The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Goodyear acted in bad faith, or in awarding both monetary and non-monetary damages, wrote Ninth Circuit Judge Milan J. Smith Jr. in the majority opinion.
“The district court's imposition of non-monetary sanctions against Goodyear was balanced, narrowly tailored and imposed no sanctions beyond what was necessary to remedy what the district court perceived as an ongoing problem in Goodyear's litigation,” Judge Smith wrote.
Judge Paul J. Watford dissented, agreeing with the majority on the allegations of misconduct against Goodyear, but said he would have vacated the monetary damages.
“The record did not establish a causal connection between the lawyer's misconduct and the jury's inability to reach a verdict,” Judge Watford wrote in his dissent. “The record in this case is similarly devoid of evidence establishing a causal link between Goodyear's misconduct and the fees awarded.”