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Haeger v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
793 F.3d 1122 (2015)


Facts

A G159 tire manufactured by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (defendant) failed, causing the Haegers (plaintiffs) injury when their mobile home flipped. The Haegers brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. During discovery, the Haegers requested the results of Goodyear’s testing of its G159 tires. Goodyear’s attorneys, Musnuff and Hancock, initially neglected to search for all G159 tests that Goodyear had conducted. Subsequently, in January 2007, Goodyear engineers located some of the requested tests and sent them to Musnuff, who sent them to Hancock. The attorneys did not, however, send the tests to the Haegers. In April 2007, the district court judge asked if Goodyear had produced all requested documentation, and Hancock replied that Goodyear had responded to all outstanding discovery requests. In May 2007, after a third request for production of documents, Hancock produced the additional tests that the engineers had located four months prior. Eventually, the Haegers and Goodyear settled the case. After the case closed, the Haegers’ attorney discovered that Goodyear had failed to produce additional responsive tests. The attorney moved for sanctions against Hancock, Musnuff, and Goodyear. The district court used its inherent power to impose sanctions against Musnuff, Hancock, and Goodyear. The district court analyzed other G159-related cases and determined that the Haegers’ settlement was less than it would have been had the requested tests been produced. The district court imposed sanctions against Musnuff, Hancock, and Goodyear in the amount of $2,741,201.16, the estimated amount the Haegers spent on attorney’s fees after their first request for production of documents. Goodyear and its attorneys appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

Dissent (Watford, J.)

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