SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A tire maker sued in a fatal crash involving students from Utah State University is fighting an order to surrender documents related to its products.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is asking the federal appeals court in Denver to overturn a ruling from the federal court in Salt Lake City.
Cooper Tire of Findlay, Ohio, said it would cost $1.4 million — and take 10 weeks — for a dozen lawyers to sort through the pertinent documents from as many as 1.5 million pieces of paper.
''This scope is broader than has ever been applied to Cooper in any product-liability lawsuit,'' the company said.
Eight Utah State students and an instructor died Sept. 26, 2005, when the van carrying them back to Logan from a field trip crashed near Tremonton.
The families of seven victims are suing Cooper Tire, saying bad tires had a role. The van maker, Chrysler LLC, recently settled with the families. No details were disclosed.
''Cooper was not to blame for the accident,'' company vice president Patricia Brown said. ''When consumers buy a Cooper tire, they are choosing a safe, reliable and quality-engineered product.''
Lisa Pasbjerg, a paralegal in Florida who has worked on cases against Cooper Tire, said U.S. trial lawyers are watching the Utah case. She is not involved.
The families have ''gotten some fabulous District Court rulings. It's such a monster case,'' Pasbjerg said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner said the families' theory about bad tires is a wide one.
''Plaintiffs ... should be permitted to engage in discovery that has a similarly broad focus,'' Warner wrote in a decision that was upheld by another judge.
Whether any information will be shared with a jury will be decided later, he said.
Brown said the company only seeks to protect commercial and trade secrets. The appeals court will hear arguments March 18.