In a tread separation case against Cooper Tire, the court noted several previous instances of “wilful disobedience” and “bad faith”. After concluding that Cooper failed to carry its burden that the ingredients of the tire in question were “trade secrets”, the court further rejected the notion that the scope of disclosure should be limited to only those tires with the “same green tire specification” as the tire in question. “Tread separation problems” the court noted, “may be present in tires other than those sharing the same green tire specifications, and thus the scope of discovery in this case should include documents relating generally to the tread separation defect or problem. To rule otherwise would mean, as the plaintiffs assert, that Cooper Tire would not produce documents in which tread separation and foreign object contamination is discussed generally. For example, the plaintiffs point to Cooper Tire’s communications with government agencies, or company documents where tread separation in tires made of the same materials but not same specifications has been analyzed. The plaintiffs maintain, and we agree, that such information is of ‘vital importance irrespective of the make of tire involved (since) it contains evidence of what Cooper Tire knew of belt and tread separations.’ As plaintiffs assert, to limit disclosure to ‘same green tire specifications’ rather than to tires with the same defect of tread separation is an ‘absurdity’ since Cooper Tire will be able to conceal documents probative on the issues of notice, defectiveness and dangerousness. For the same reasons, it would be absurd to limit disclosure to the same plant as the one where the subject tire was manufactured. We have held that disclosure on the issues of the manufacturer’s notice of the alleged product defect is an essential factor in products liability and negligence actions. Thus, the plaintiffs are entitled to pre-manufacture disclosure going back to 1985, which information is material and relevant on the issue of whether Cooper Tire had notice of the alleged defective condition that resulted in tread separation. The plaintiffs have established in the record that Cooper Tire proposed a settlement of 32 pending class actions and offered their customers a free replacement tire for every steel-belted radial manufactured between 1985 and 2001 that suffered tread separation as a result of a manufacturing defect. Therefore, the motion court’s ruling that the only pre-manufacturing disclosure allowed was that relating to the subject tire’s design, testing and manufacture for a period limited by the court is erroneous as is the ruling that denied plaintiffs discovery as to notice of defective conditions. Mann v. Cooper Tire, 816 N.Y.S.2d 45 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. 2006). [For further discussion, see: “What’s New in Spoliation and E-Discovery?”]