Issue: 11/03

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. announced that it has agreed to pay $236 million to settle a class action case over faulty heating hoses. A U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey recently gave conditional approval to the settlement. It covers property owners in Colorado and New Mexico.

The case centers on a hose called Entran II, which, in many cases, eroded and leaked heating fluid into the walls of homes. Akron-based Goodyear made the hose and argued that its distributor, Heatway Radiant Floors and Snowmelting, should have informed homeowners of the need to mix heating fluid with an anti-corrosive. Heatway declared bankruptcy in 2000.

Goodyear said the settlement is conditional on enough participation by the property owners. A judge will review the settlement in a fairness hearing. Goodyear spokesman Skip Scherer said the number of property owners covered by the settlement is unclear because Heatway did not keep accurate records.

"We still maintain that there is nothing wrong with the hose itself," Sherer said. "The systems were either not designed properly or were not properly maintained."

The settlement does not include property owners in six New England states and Canada. It also does not include 34 property owners in Colorado who were awarded nearly $10 million last month by a federal judge in Denver. Goodyear is appealing that decision. The jury in that case found Entran II was defective and that Goodyear was negligent in designing and making it. The damages were for the replacement of the hoses, which in many cases were embedded in floors and ceilings.