A federal court in New York has determined that plaintiffs in two separate cases allegedly injured when the rear tires on their motorcycles suddenly deflated during operation may inspect the defendant’s manufacturing facility and that the inspection will not be precluded by or subject to a protective order. Blundon v. Goodyear Dunlop Tires N. Am., Ltd., No. 11CV990S (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D.N.Y., order entered November 9, 2012). According to the court, the plaintiffs established that the plant inspection was relevant “and necessary to explore their contention that defects in the plant or its operation may have caused the particular alleged defect in the tire at issue.”

The court also granted the defendant’s motion to inspect the plaintiffs’ tires and rims at its expert’s facility in Ohio, assured by the company’s assertion that the testing and examination would be non-destructive and non-invasive. “Failure to return the tires and rims as they were sent to defendant,” the court cautioned, “may result in an adverse instruction that the missing or destroyed tires or rims were as plaintiffs described them.” The court denied the plaintiffs’ request to be present during the examination. As for the defendant’s request for a protective order to limit access to its proprietary documents and trade secrets, the court granted the request and limited sharing of any data beyond “those necessary for the prosecution of this case.”