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Sumerel v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Colorado Court of Appeals
232 P.3d 128 (2009)


Facts

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) (defendant) was found liable in a products liability action instituted by several families, including Sumerel, and two entities (collectively Plaintiffs). The jury awarded Plaintiffs $1.3 million in damages and “other costs and losses.” Additionally, the jury found Goodyear 36 percent responsible for the “other costs and losses” suffered by two families and 48 percent responsible for the “other costs and losses” suffered by two other families. The trial court declined to award pre-judgment interest on the “other costs and losses” awarded to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs appealed the trial court’s decision not to make such an award. Goodyear appealed the award of “other costs and losses” damages. A division of the court of appeals upheld the trial court’s award of “other costs and losses” to Plaintiffs and further held that Plaintiffs were entitled to pre-judgment interest on those damages. The division remanded the matter to the trial court for a determination of the proper accrual dates for the award of pre-judgment interest on “other costs and losses” and to calculate the award. Thereafter, attorneys for both sides entered into negotiations to reach an agreement as to the accrual dates and resulting award amount. Although counsel for both parties easily reached an agreement as to the proper accrual dates, the attorneys calculated the award amount differently. Co-counsel for Goodyear sent charts and calculations to Plaintiffs’ co-counsel which was later determined to be an overstatement of damages due by more than $550,000. Goodyear’s co-counsel had assessed Goodyear’s liability at 100 percent as opposed to 36 percent and 48 percent, respectively. Plaintiffs’ took co-counsel’s amount as an “offer” and accepted it. When Goodyear’s co-counsel realized his error, he attempted to correct the calculation. Nevertheless, Plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the purported “settlement agreement.” The trial court granted Plaintiffs’ motion and Goodyear appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Gabriel, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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