Goodyear Tire Dispute

Published: 2021-09-11 00:10:09
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Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations v. Brown (10-76)


Certiorari to the Court of Appeals of North Carolina


In April, 2004 a bus filled with young soccer players from North Carolina were on their way to the airport; traveling on a road outside Paris, France. Their destination was to be the Charles de Gaulle Airport, as the team was prepared to come back home to North Carolina. While traveling on the bus, the plies of the tires separated causing a terrible crash which in turn, Julian Brown and Matthew Helms both sustained fatal injuries. The boys' parents felt compelled to file a wrongful death suit against Goodyear Tire. The parents alleged that Goodyear Tire Company was negligent in the aspect of "design, construction, testing, and inspection" of the tire. Due to the deaths of two young boys from North Carolina, the parents felt that they were due damages from the Goodyear Tire Company being that Goodyear tires are sold in North Carolina; as well as throughout the United States (Schulman, 2011) (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/10-76.pdf).
The petitioners in this case; the boys' parents; felt as though the Goodyear Tire Company should be held responsible the deaths of their children and not be allowed to market their product; Goodyear Tires; in the state of North Carolina. During the process of bringing this issue before a judge, it was found out that Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has subsidiary companies in other countries, including Turkey, France, and Luxembourg. The cause of the bus accident was attributed to a defective tire that was manufactured at a foreign plant in Turkey. Goodyear Tire, USA has many different


subsidiary plants that provide tires to other parts of the world. These tires are constructed differently than tires distributed here in the United States. Tires distributed in other parts of the world are different in size and construction; they are designed to be used on vehicles that carry heavy loads, to be efficient under different or even more severe road conditions and to operate effectively under different speed limits than in the United States. Being that the USA is the primary market for Goodyear Tire; a Ohio base corporation; the tires manufactured in European and Asian markets have a great deal of differences. It was determined that the tires manufactured in Turkey were distributed in North Carolina through Goodyear USA affiliates. The trial court rejected the manufacturer's motion to dismiss, for want of personal jurisdiction. North Carolina Court of Appeals agreed, rendering that North Carolina courts had jurisdiction over the manufacturer whose tires entered the United States through "the stream of commerce". /the manufacturer felt has though they should not be held liable as they did nothing to directly cause the tires to be shipped in the state of North Carolina, USA. However the court felt that the tires reached North Carolina by a highly organized distribution process involving other Goodyear USA subsidiaries. The tires actually met with US Department of Transportation standards and were marketed as they usually are when sold within the United States. North Carolina court of Appeals understood the manufacturers of the tire was a "separate corporate entity" and therefore was not directly responsible for the tire being sold in North Carolina. The Plaintiffs subsequently forfeited this law suit. The judgment of the North Carolina Court of Appeals was reversed (Schulman, 2011) (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/10-76.pdf).
The Goodyear vs. Brown case demonstrates that each state and/or country has its own set of codes and laws that they adhere to. Jurisdiction,

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