Julian Brown Memorial Fund

 

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Brown, et. al. v Goodyear:  Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States: January 11, 2011

Julian Brown and Matt Helms, died as a result of injuries sustained in a bus accident outside Paris in April 2004. Several other children, all soccer players, were severely injured. Julian and Matt were 13 years old at the time of their deaths.

 A thorough investigation conducted  by the judicial system in France subsequently revealed that a tire, made by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was defective. The investigation concluded that the plies on the tires separated and  was causally related to the  fatal crash. The tire, manufactured by a wholly owned subsidiary of Goodyear in Turkey was designed or distributed by Goodyear plants in Luxembourg and France.  
 
Julian and Matt were citizens of the United States and residents of North Carolina. The parents hired the law firm of Kirby & Holt and, upon obtaining the results of the investigations in France, filed suit against Goodyear and other parties in the trial court of Onslow County, NC.  Goodyear maintains several facilities in North Carolina and has a registered agent in the state.The tire on the bus in France contained markings, in English, and carried the familiar Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) designation.  Under deposition, a Goodyear officer submitted evidence showing that at least 44,000 tires made by the Goodyear (Turkey) subsidiary were sold in North Carolina.  Nevertheless, Goodyear raised various motions, ultimately contending that the North Carolina Trial Court had no jurisdiction over Goodyear, Turkey. 

The trial court judged ruled against Goodyear, and the company  immediately requested review by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  The three judge panel unanimously upheld the lower court ruling. Goodyear then applied for review by the North Carolina Supreme Court.  That court declined to hear the case, effectively upholding the lower court decision. Goodyear then applied for and was granted certiorari (a review) by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Oral arguments  were heard on January 11, 2011.

The Nine Justices of the Supreme Court must decide how a U.S. citizen can  file a grievance against large multinational corporations that outsource the manufacture of goods and services to subsidiaries or agents around the world.  It is our position that even though U.S. Corporations may seek to outsource manufacturing to lower cost labor markets; they cannot outsource liability for the products they make. 

We are confident that the justices will find in favor of Brown/Helms, and render a decision that protects the rights of Americans to a fair trial, conducted  in a courtroom within the borders of the United States.  



 

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