Accounting & Tax

Judge Lets Air out of Goodyear Lawsuit

Tire maker's $100 million restatement was due to inadvertent accounting and billing errors, the company successfully claimed.
Stephen TaubMarch 23, 2006

Sometimes a restatement is simply due to a screw-up.

This, apparently, is what a judge believes happened at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The tire maker announced that U.S. District Court Judge John Adams dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging that securities fraud was committed by the company and certain of its current and former officers stemming from the company’s 2003 restatement.

In its ruling, the court found that the plaintiffs had failed to sufficiently set forth particularized facts to support their claim, according to the company’s press release.

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The Akron Beacon Journal noted that Goodyear claimed the overstated profits were caused by inadvertent accounting and billing errors. “We are pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit,” C. Thomas Harvie, Goodyear senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

Goodyear reportedly added that it has also asked for dismissal of two companion cases pending before Judge Adams: a shareholder derivative action and an action based on alleged ERISA violations.

In October 2003, Goodyear disclosed that it would restate earnings by $100 million going back to 1998, primarily resulting from the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system in 1999 and errors in inter-company billing systems. Two months later, the company reported fresh problems that forced it to postpone its amended 2002 annual report until the following year.

In March 2004, Goodyear disciplined a number of senior managers in its European Union operation in the wake of an investigation into improper accounting in the company’s European and other overseas operations. The company also found additional accounting problems in its U.S. operations that would probably result in the company’s third restatement in six months.