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Judge OKs Deal for Firestone Lawsuits

The $149-million settlement from the 2000 recall includes funding for a tire safety campaign.

March 16, 2004|From Reuters

The maker of Firestone tires said Monday that a Texas judge had approved a $149-million settlement of class-action lawsuits stemming from its massive recall in August 2000.

The settlement includes a three-year, $15.5-million consumer awareness campaign about tire safety, $19 million in legal fees and $3.5 million to notify class members.

It also includes $70 million to replace any of the Wilderness ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires that may still be on the road, $41 million to manufacture certain tires with better high-speed capacity and $2,500 apiece to each of the 45 named consumers.

Bridgestone North Americas Holding Inc., the Nashville-based unit of Japan's Bridgestone Corp., has already replaced many of the 6.2 million tires it estimated were on the road at the time of the recall. About 60 million of the tires were made.

"We're pleased because we think a settlement is in the best interests of all parties," said Dan MacDonald, a Bridgestone North Americas spokesman.

Judge Donald Floyd in Beaumont, Texas, signed a 69-page order approving the settlement late Friday, the judge's office confirmed. He had given preliminary approval to the settlement in July.

Bridgestone recalled the tires after federal regulators linked them to rollover accidents, many involving Ford Motor Co. Explorers. Hundreds of people were injured and 271 deaths were reported.

The settlement covers only those who owned Firestone tires and did not suffer injuries or damages from crashes attributed to the tires.

Lawyers for only a small number of plaintiffs had objected to the settlement in a fairness hearing held in January.

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