Company A obtained a design patent(unpublished)in 1990 which was granted and enforce. Company B during the enforcement period of 1995, decided to apply for a utility patent, using the methods of reconstructing the design, now both A and B designs are for a article of manufacturing and both have similarities in design. Company B after extensive prosecution was able to obtain a utility patent for their invention design in 1998. Company A design patent expired in 2003 (14 years Period), which is now become public domain. Company C wanted to manufacture Company A design, not knowing that Comp B used the design for their invention. Comp. B filed suit against Comp. C in federal court, allegations of infringement. Can B successfully sued C for a design patent which is public domain and why are Patent Designs not Published.
One, granted design patents are published. Design patents and utility patents cover different aspects of a product. Design patents cover the ornamental features of a product, not the function of a product. For example, the design patent was for an airplane and B made an actual airplane that looked like the drawings in the published design patent. If B gets one or more utility patents on aspects of the plane then C could certainly build an airplane that infringes on B's patents.
It is possible, but unlikely, that A's design patent constituted enabled prior art to the claims B was granted. In that case, C might be able to get the patent invalidated in an IPR proceeding.
In 1990, patent applications were not published until they were granted. If they actually obtained a design patent, it should have been published as a patent grant. Certain granted patents are not published, but that is a very narrow category (basically national security). If you provide some of the patent numbers, you will probably get much better answers.