August 12, 2019

Clyde & Co successfully represents Cooper Tire in product liability action

Global law firm Clyde & Co has successfully represented Cooper Tire in a product liability action. On August 5, 2019, Justice Alison Tuitt of the New York Supreme Court, Bronx County, granted Cooper Tire’s motion for summary judgement in a product liability action that has been pending for over 8 years. As regional counsel, the Clyde & Co team of Miami-based Partner Fred Fein and Senior Associate Nanci Schanerman litigated the case and assisted local counsel with preparing the moving papers that led to a 23-page, substantive judgement decision which dismissed all claims against Cooper Tire.

The incident behind the case was a tragic and highly publicized 2010 accident, where a Ford minivan carrying 14 Bronx church members experienced a left rear tread separation and crashed on the New York State Thruway. The church bishop, his wife and four others were fatally injured and the remaining passengers experienced severe injuries. Cooper Tire, who manufactured the subject tire, asserted from the outset that the tire was not defectively manufactured or designed, nor was it the proximate cause of the incident.

In its decision, the Court dismissed all claims and cross-claims against Cooper Tire, finding that the tire it manufactured had been misapplied, misused and abused, leaving it in a different condition than it had been at the time of its manufacture in 2003.

Commenting on the case, Nanci Schanerman said, “ The risk in these tragic incidents is that in the search for blame, due process is ignored.  This case represented a large exposure for Cooper Tire given the severity of the injuries and the numerous parties involved. Through depositions, we were able to uncover favorable testimony and prove that the church had knowledge of the state of the misused and abused tires on the subject van. We were able to successfully navigate complex discovery issues in order to limit the issues to the case at hand, trying the product, not the company, which ultimately lead to the successful ruling in Cooper Tire's favor.”