ERT discussed tires and tort reform Tuesday

By Matthew T. Marcinek
Special to The 'Nique

Mr. Michael Micali, Chairman and President of Michelin North America, was the speaker at Executive Round Table's first dinner meeting of Fall quarter this past Thursday. Mr. Micali delivered a thoughtful presentation followed by a lively discussion concerning the legal system's affect on business, industry, and the U.S. economy.

Since he has a strong legal background, Mr. Micali was able to pose surprisingly realistic legal cases that appeared to take advantage of the judicial system. Once case involved a police chase in which the criminal's tire was shot out by the pursuing officers. The criminal then sued the tire company claiming the tire was defective.

In another situation, a customer discovered that his brand new BMW had actually been repainted. This paint job cost BMW $600. The customer sued and won, receiving the $600 damage fee in addition to a $6 million punitive damage award.

The hypothetical scenario that was the focus of most of the evening's discussion involved a tire manufacture and a dissatisfied customer. A customer experienced an accident at 90,000 miles with a 70K-mile tire. At the same time, the manufacturer was in the process of rigorously testing a 100K-mile tire. The customer sued claiming the manufacturer withheld valuable technology from the public, which could have prevented the accident. The plaintiff alleged that the company delayed the release of the new tire to reduce their current inventory of 70K-mile tires. On the other hand, the manufacturer claimed that the tire was still in the test phase and it would not release it prematurely.

The case was discussed independently in ERT's round table format, and the group reconvened to share their collective ideas regarding settlement, future R&D protocol, and tort reform with Mr. Micali.

The next ERT dinner meeting is scheduled for November 20. ERT will host Chancellor Stephen Portch, the Head of the University System of Georgia. ERT is also wrapping up its fall membership drive and would like to thank all applicants and interviewers for their vigorous participation.

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