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Iowa Appeals Court Upholds $32.8 Million Verdict in Rollover Case Against Cooper Tire

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a $32.8 million jury verdict against Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB) in a tire-tread separation accident that killed one person and injured several others.

The ruling affirms 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.

The crash on Highway 65 between Des Moines and Marshalltown claimed the life of Assata Karlarj. Passenger Ivon Toe was paralyzed in the accident, and Josephine Cole, Sekou Jai, Jailah Nayou and Achol Deng Mawien were severely injured.

Attorneys Kyle Farrar and Wesley Todd Ball of the Houston trial law firm Farrar & Ball, LLP served as lead counsel for the six passengers and their families, along with attorney Fred James of the James Law Firm in Des Moines and attorney John Gsanger of The Edwards Law Firm in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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. 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.

“We are pleased that the appellate court has upheld the jury’s decision to hold a company accountable for its actions,” says Mr. Ball.

“The victims and families have been suffering from Cooper’s decisions for nearly six years, and they are now one step closer to justice,” says Mr. Farrar. “While no amount of money can heal or bring back a loved one, our hope is that this decision sends a clear message to every company that they must protect customers’ safety.”

The appellate decision in Ivon Toe, et al. v. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, et al., No. 3-013/11-1588, was handed down Wednesday, April 24, 2013, affirming a jury verdict of more than $31.3 million in actual damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

Farrar & Ball, LLP, is dedicated to helping those injured due to corporate neglect. The firm has developed extensive knowledge of tire and vehicle failures. To learn more, visit the firm’s website at http://www.fbtrial.com/index.html.