INDIANAPOLIS (July 2, 2001)—Sears, Roebuck and Co. wants a federal judge to force Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. to honor an agreement to pay Sears' damages and legal costs in personal injury litigation. Sears has been named as a defendant in 11 tread separation lawsuits involving Firestone tires.
In eight of those cases, consumers bought the Firestone tires at Sears stores, a Sears spokesman said. Sears has an indemnification clause in the contract it signed with BFS in 1997, which states that Sears will not be responsible for any costs or damages arising from deaths or injuries caused by BFS' tires.
“We are asking that that clause be honored,” the spokesman said. “I wouldn't read too much into this. This is simply a matter of litigation, and I'm sure each side will do what is best for their company.” He added that Sears has “a good relationship with Firestone, and we are optimistic we can come to an agreement.” The spokesman did not know whether any hearing date was set for the motion before Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis federal district court. BFS spokesmen could not be reached.