Titan CEO Taylor on Trial for Slander
(Tire Review/sg) The chairman and CEO of Titan Tire parent company Titan International Inc., Maurice M. Taylor Jr., is a defendant in a slander trial that began December 3 in the U.S. District Court in Des Moines, Iowa. About 20 former and current Titan employees allege they were slandered when Taylor, at a news conference in 2000, falsely accused them of filing fraudulent worker compensation claims as part of union tactics during a long United Steelworkers strike at Titan’s agricultural tyre plant in Des Moines.
Taylor announced at the conference that he was suing the union and some individual members of the union, alleging that strike-related union activities amounted to “racketeering” under federal law. The lawsuit was settled in 2006; the union paid no damages. Randy Shanks, a Council Bluffs lawyer for the workers, said their compensation claims for hearing loss were legitimate and were upheld. Gene LaSuer, a lawyer for Taylor, said the employees weren’t defamed because they weren’t sufficiently identified during the news conference and thus weren’t damaged. LaSuer also said Taylor’s statements were substantially true because compensation claims from about 60 other workers named in the lawsuit were dismissed.