American Kenda Rubber Inc. Co. Ltd., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and International Tire Warehouse Inc. all have settled a lawsuit involving the distribution rights for Kenda brand tires.
The suit was filed in December 2004 in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County by Tim Phillips, former ITW president and CEO. It alleged that Kenda violated an agreement to allow ITW primary rights to sell and distribute the Kenda brand in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington by giving Cooper distribution rights.
The parties involved in the suit have sealed the settlement with a confidentiality agreement, and the terms are undisclosed.
Attorney Tom Lallas, who represented Phillips, said his client is pleased with the settlement. He said all parties dismissed all claims, and ``the divorce is concluded, and they decided to go forward with their lives.''
At the time of the filing, Kenda President Jimmy Yang was chairman and majority shareholder of ITW. He and Phillips had operated ITW as a joint venture that Kenda was supposed to supply.
Phillips charged that Yang broke his pact with ITW when Kenda ``entered into an exclusive sales or distribution agreement with Cooper.'' The suit alleged ITW lost its western territory to Cooper, which has exclusive distribution rights to the brand in the U.S.
In April 2005, Yang and the Kenda group took over ITW, according to Lallas, who added he isn't certain if ITW still exists as an entity.
Phillips now works for Solideal Tire Inc.
Yang couldn't be reached for comment. Jeff Pizzola, Kenda's chief financial officer, declined to comment on the settlement.