BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by Goodyear of a $7.2 million wrongful death verdict for the family of a Plaquemines Parish man who was killed in 2014 when an allegedly defective Goodyear G182 tire he was servicing exploded.
Interest accrued during Goodyear's appeal brings the award to nearly $8.9 million, according to law firm Kaster, Lynch, Farrar & Ball.
The case dates to February 2014 when Elwood Breaux Jr., an employee of the Plaquemines Parish Government (PPG), suffered fatal injuries when a Goodyear G182 tire he was inflating experienced a "zipper failure" and ruptured. Mr. Breaux was a driver of an automated garbage truck at Solid Waste North in the parish, according to the suit.
His family sued Goodyear and others; the case went to trial in January 2019, according to the law firms representing the Breaux family.
A three-judge panel from Louisiana's Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal previously found that the trial judge had ruled properly that Goodyear had not carried out its duty to warn about its tires' dangers and how to avoid injury, the law firms said.
Goodyear declined to comment on the case, which was tried in a bench trial that took place Jan. 14 to Jan. 25, 2019.
In their suit, the Breaux family alleged design defect, manufacturing defect and failure to warn the PPG of zipper ruptures. Originally, the suit also named two employees of Goodyear Auto Service Center in Gretna, La., who had delivered the tire to Solid Waste North; they subsequently were excused from the case.
The case hinged on a number of factors, including whether Goodyear provided adequate/sufficient warning of the possibility that truck tires can experience zipper failures --- a sudden, explosive failure of tire cords in the sidewall --- under certain conditions.
Goodyear declined to comment on the case.
Pending any further appeals by Goodyear, Mr. Breaux's surviving spouse, Irene Marie Breaux, and her six children stand to share the lion's share of the judgment. Mr. Breaux's employer, PPG, is also scheduled to receive a share of the judgment.