(Unique air date: 2/16/2020)
The next is a transcript of an investigative report on Full Measure Information. Click on on the hyperlink on the finish of the transcript to look at the video story.
If you happen to’ve been round awhile you may keep in mind the lethal Ford-Firestone tire fiasco. The regulation on reporting tire issues of safety was modified due to it. Right now, there’s a federal investigation you most likely haven’t heard about into a unique model of tire. Goodyear tires as soon as used on motor properties. Goodyear says the tires are secure. However there are critical allegations of a canopy up.
Norman Samuel: It was an ideal day for be driving. We bought all the way in which into Alabama and we have been about 30, 35 miles out of Tuscaloosa.
Norman Samuel’s spouse was driving their motor dwelling in 2002 once they heard a pop it was the sound of the tread peeling off of one in every of their Goodyear tires.
Norman Samuel: The rig dropped down on the left entrance and my spouse yelled out to me, “Norman, I can not maintain it, we’ll crash.” And I stated, “simply do the very best you may, it’s going to all be okay.”
It wasn’t. They’d a catastrophic crash. His spouse was pinned within the driver’s seat.
Norman Samuel: She was speaking, she was unsleeping. It was powerful, I might see her head beginning to swell a bit bit from the place she had impacted the windshield. Her left foot was severed, fully off. It appeared prefer it took for an eternity, however the ambulance lastly did get there. She went to the hospital and he or she was acutely aware the entire experience in, however within the working room they only could not save her. She was simply too far gone. Her head was broken that a lot.
Samuel, whose dad ran a service station, says he was at all times a stickler for checking and caring for his tires.
Sharyl: How did you come to imagine the tires have been faulty?
Norman Samuel: Once I noticed the tread, truly I used to be on the hospital and a buddy of mine, who was a truck driver, heard concerning the accident. He had the presence to return and get the tread. It’d’ve been a more durable case to show if he hadn’t discovered that, however you can put the tread collectively and it made your complete tread was all in only one piece.
It seems the identical catastrophe was hitting different households.
In 2003, the Haegers crashed their motor dwelling in New Mexico after the tread tore off of their proper entrance Goodyear tire. All 4 members of the family inside have been damage.
Donna Haeger, the grandmother, nonetheless suffers from her accidents seventeen years later. She was trapped within the rear with a damaged jaw, enamel, wrist, foot, ribs, toes and a severed Achilles tendon.
Lawyer David Kurtz took the Haeger case and obtained a confidential settlement from Goodyear. However as an alternative of that ending the story, it was solely the start.
Sharyl: You’re saying that Goodyear misled the court docket— there was information exhibiting this downside?
David Kurtz: Oh, completely. By the point the Haeger’s accident occurred, there’d been over 450 freeway pace failures of the G159.
Sharyl: However you did not know that?
David Kurtz: I had no thought.
The court docket battles over Goodyear’s G159 have now spanned 20 years. Kurtz has argued in authorized paperwork that the tire is linked to no less than 98 deaths and accidents and lots of of property injury claims.
And the case towards the tire maker has expanded right into a federal investigation and allegations of a canopy up.
Sharyl: The G159 is a tire that was initially made for what?
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David Kurtz: It was made for cease and go supply automobiles, like a FedEx truck.
Sharyl: However it started for use for one thing else?
David Kurtz: It additionally, that specific dimension match on motorhomes and so Goodyear offered it for that utility.
Sharyl: What was the issue with that?
David Kurtz: The tire when it was launched was not topic to any form of excessive pace testing, however it has a temperature limitation that it might’t exceed. And that is not an issue if you’re stopping and beginning in interior metropolis visitors. However if you get out on the freeways, it will generate extra warmth that may slowly degrade the tire till you get tread separations that adopted.
Expenses of coverup come into play as a result of Goodyear hid that key info from the Haegers. It turned up later when a watchdog group referred to as Security Analysis and Methods pored by way of paperwork in a Florida case. At freeway speeds routinely traveled by motor properties, Goodyear exams confirmed the G159 tires generate warmth that may be “trigger for concern” although hundreds of tires have been offered for that very function.
David Kurtz: Understanding, we began our lawsuit within the Haeger case in 2005. In 2012, we lastly bought the exams that confirmed that Goodyear had been hiding for years, that confirmed temperatures in extra of 250 levels when touring at freeway speeds.
Sharyl: You alleged that Goodyear conspired to maintain security info secret from the general public and federal authorities. How?
David Kurtz: You understand the federal regulation is fairly— and it has been for a very long time— it’s actually simple. It says, if you happen to imagine there is a defect associated to motorized vehicle security, it’s a must to inform the federal government inside 5 days. And Goodyear knew by 2000, the tip of 2000 they knew the tire was faulty.
Armed with the the brand new info, Kurtz launched a multi pronged assault that included new lawsuits towards Goodyear and going to the feds.
It didn’t take lengthy for a federal choose to agree that Goodyear and its attorneys had cheated the Haegers and owed them $2.7 million in penalties.
Goodyear appealed and either side are nonetheless combating over the quantity of the ultimate fee.
The trial court docket choose discovered the Goodyear group made “repeated deliberate choices to make deceptive and false in-court statements, and conceal related paperwork The little voice in each lawyer’s conscience that murmurs ‘flip over all materials info’ was ignored.”
Kurtz filed a separate fraud case towards Goodyear the place he questioned Goodyear government Linda Lovell.
David Kurtz: We’re on the report. Had been you conscious that there have been over 600, over 600, property injury claims alleged to have occurred on account of G159 failures?
Linda Lovell: I don’t have a particular quantity however I’m conscious that there have been allegations for property injury claims and there have been allegations for deaths and harm. In every a type of we labored to grasp what may very well be inflicting these incidents, as we do with any allegation for property injury declare and any allegation for loss of life and harm.
David Kurtz: It’s really the worst truck tire made in historical past to the very best of my data. The commonest info folks find out about is the Firestone failures again within the 12 months 2000 that led to some federal laws referred to as the TREAD Act for public security for tire failures. And to the very best of our calculations, a Goodyear failure fee is 27 occasions worse than the Firestone.
Goodyear settled the fraud case for a confidential quantity. However the entire controversy was nonetheless removed from over.
The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration or NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into the G159 primarily based on info Kurtz offered. The “failures could stem from a security associated defect,” wrote NHTSA. “Claimants contend the Goodyear G159 tires have been allegedly not designed for prolonged use at freeway speeds as can be skilled throughout motor dwelling operation.”
Goodyear declined our interview requests however stated in an announcement, “Nothing is extra vital to Goodyear than the security of the associates who produce our merchandise and the shoppers who use them. We proceed to imagine that there isn’t any security defect with the G159 tire. We’re totally cooperating with NHTSA on their investigation.”
Sharyl: It’s been 13 years since Goodyear settled Norman Samuel’s case for a confidential quantity. He says he nonetheless finds himself random motor properties to see if their tires are G159s.
Norman Samuel: Goodyear is a large firm and employs hundreds of individuals and I am positive that almost all of them are simply as nice as they are often, however someplace alongside the road anyone slipped up they usually let this factor snowball. They did not take the suitable motion on the proper time and avoid wasting folks’s lives.
NHTSA wouldn’t inform us what’s subsequent, but when Goodyear is discovered to have been misleading it might owe as much as $105 million in penalties.
Click on on the hyperlink under to look at the video report on FullMeasure.information: