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

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

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