CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas—A jury in a Texas county court returned a $33 million verdict against Goodyear in a case involving an allegedly defective tire on a cement truck.
Goodyear said in a statement that it reached a confidential agreement with the plaintiffs before the verdict. But despite that settlement, the verdict is not moot, according to an attorney representing the plaintiffs.
The tire maker said it was "disappointed" with the verdict.
The tire involved in the case was a Goodyear G286A Super Single tire manufactured at Goodyear's Danville, Va., plant in May 2009, according to John Gsanger, attorney with the Houston-based Ammons Law Firm, who represented the family of the late Ramiro Munoz.
Munoz, a teacher and community leader, was killed in 2013 when the tire on the cement truck lost its tread, causing the truck driver to lose control of the truck. It struck Munoz's vehicle.
Munoz's survivors filed suit before the 365th Court in Dimmit County, Texas.
Five workers at the Danville plant testified as plaintiffs' witnesses at the trial, according to a power point presentation prepared by the Ammons Law Firm.
Those workers alleged substandard manufacturing conditions at the operations where the G286A tire was made, including water contamination, inadequate inspections and the use of old rubber, the power point presentation said.
The jury returned its verdict Feb. 22.
In a press release, Gsanger alleged the Danville plant is "notorious" for a poor workplace safety and quality control record.
"In our analysis, we found the failed tire's problems were numerous and included adhesion defects and off-center, wrong-sized steel belts," Gsanger said. "Tread separation and the loss of vehicular control is the result of shoddy manufacturing."
The trial court found evidence that Goodyear was guilty of gross negligence and denied Goodyear's motion for a directed verdict on those claims, according to Gsanger.
After that ruling, but before closing arguments, Goodyear asked the plaintiffs for an agreement that would not settle the case, but that would remove gross negligence from the jury's considerations in exchange for a floor on the minimum amount of damages, Gsanger said.
The agreement also set a cap on damages to the Munoz family as long as Goodyear waived its right to appeal, he said.
"The agreement made any potential appeal moot, but it did not make the verdict moot," Gsanger said.