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Cooper appeals appellate court decision

Order Reprints

On April 24, 2013, the  Iowa Court of Appeals upheld a $32.8 million jury verdict against Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. Cooper has since chosen to appeal the decision.

The lawsuit centered around a tire tread separation accident that killed one person and injured several others. Following the appellate court's decision, Cooper filed an Application for Further Review in the Supreme Court of Iowa on May 13.

"Cooper strongly disagrees with the Court of Appeals decision, and continues to aggressively defend our position," says Michelle Rehbein, media relations manager.

The ruling affirmed a 2010 jury verdict issued in Iowa’s Polk County District Court that found Cooper Tire responsible for the Sept. 17, 2007, fatal rollover crash involving a group of employees from a local meatpacking plant who were carpooling in a van to work.

According to a press release from Androvett Legal Media and Marketing, the crash on Highway 65 between Des Moines and Marshalltown claimed the life of one passenger, paralyzed another, and severely injured four others.

The Houston trial law firm Farrar & Ball LLP served as lead counsel for the six passengers and their families.

"Trial evidence showed that the rollover crash resulted from a tire defect that caused a catastrophic tread separation of the van’s left rear tire," said the release. "The victims’ attorneys also told jurors how Cooper Tire executives knew that an updated tire design would be safer, but delayed necessary changes in order to save money. The trial court jury found that Cooper Tire defectively designed and manufactured the Cooper Lifeliner Classic II tire."

The jury verdict breaks down as follows: $31.3 million in actual damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

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